Mamma Mia! had a fabulous run in San Francisco, kicking off the British ABBA musical's U.S. tour. Now, San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre is hoping for similar success with another ABBA-related show - Chess.
The New Conservatory's In Concert series hosts the famous and infamous rock opera with music by ABBA's Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and lyrics by Tim Rice (Aida, Evita) April 4-29 with an opening April 7. George Quick directs.
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 In Concert performances are $30-$13. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is located 25 Van Ness Avenue near Market Street. For reservations, call (415) 861-8972. *
Forever Plaid is the last entry in the New Conservatory's second In Concert season. The 50's styled musical about four singers who return to earth to sing after dying in an accident on the way to a concert runs May 30-July 8. 2000-2001's In Concert series also featured William Finn's A New Brain and Rodgers and Hammerstein's A Grand Night for Singing.
-- By Christine Ehren