Chess May Return to Broadway

News   Chess May Return to Broadway Is Chess headed back for Broadway?

Raul Esparza, who co-starred in the recent sold-out benefit concert of Chess for the Actors' Fund of America, said that the Shubert Organization is considering a revival of the musical, which concerns a championship chess match between an American and Russian competitor, set against the politics of the Cold War. At the recent Taboo press rehearsal — the actor is playing Philip Sallon in the new Boy George musical — Esparza told Playbill On-Line, "They're talking about potentially reviving it. That's why we didn't record it." Esparza does admit that the book of Chess "doesn't make an incredible amount of sense. I don't know how you fix it. When we were doing [rehearsals for the Chess concert] we thought, 'Oh, they could replace this with that or maybe 'Bangkok' goes to the Arbiter or maybe you cut the Arbiter. Maybe the American doesn't play chess in Act 2, like they did in London. Maybe he's the Arbiter. . ."

The evening at the New Amsterdam Theatre, which also featured Julia Murney, Adam Pascal and Josh Groban, was a particularly exciting one for Esparza. "It was one of those moments in my life — and I've been lucky enough to have a few — when I was standing on stage going, 'Look at me, I'm singing Chess on Broadway!' I just saw that fifteen-year-old kid. I've had a few of those moments in my life, and it just happened with Chess and that choir of 53 people. It was awesome!"

The Benny Anderson-Tim Rice-Björn Ulvaeus musical Chess debuted on the London stage with a cast led by Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg and Murray Head, while the short-lived Broadway company featured Judy Kuhn, Philip Casnoff and the late David Carroll. The score includes such tunes as “Nobody’s Side,” “One Night in Bangkok,” “Anthem,” “I Know Him So Well,” “Pity the Child” and “You and I.” The original Broadway cast recording was released on RCA Victor.

Curtain call at the recent Actors' Fund <i>Chess</i> concert:.
Curtain call at the recent Actors' Fund Chess concert:. Photo by Aubrey Reuben