The cult rock musical Chess will have another concert airing in the New York area, this time reassembling two of the leads from the 1998 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS set at Off-Broadway's John Houseman Theatre. Rob Evan (Jekyll & Hyde) again assays the good-guy Russian chess champion with Brian d'Arcy James (The Sweet Smell of Success, Titanic) as his American rival in chess and love, this time at Nyack's Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center.
Terrence Mann of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Beauty and the Beast was originally slated to play the Russian's handler Molokov, but a family illness will prevent his appearance. His replacement could not be learned as of press time.
Also in the cast are Julia Murney (A Class Act, The Wild Party) as the Russian's wife Svetlana, Lauren Kennedy (Side Show and the upcoming West End revival of South Pacific) as the American's girlfriend and chess-playing "second" Florence and Danny Zolli (Jesus Christ Superstar) as the Arbiter.
The Scarlet Pimpernel and Into the Woods actor Philip Hoffman directs. Musical direction is by composer Neil Berg (The Prince and the Pauper, Tim: A New Musical).
After success in London, Chess, a Cold-War story of love and betrayal set against a Russian versus American chess match, opened on Broadway at the Imperial on April 28, 1988. It closed June 25 that same year after trouble between its director Trevor Nunn and lyricist Rice and critical pans. Subsequent revivals and concert versions have been done since, often changing the plotting, cutting parts of the book, rearranging and reassigning the songs. Since its first incarnation as a "concept album" in 1984, Chess has obtained cult status, rivaling perhaps only Carrie in obsessive fans. Chess includes the one-time pop hit "One Night in Bangkok," "Heaven Help My Heart, "I Know Him So Well," "Pity the Child" and "Anthem."
Tickets to the Nyack concerts, Aug. 10-12, are $30-$45. The Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center is located at 117 Main Street in Nyack. For reservations, call (845) 358-6333.