The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan, nears the end of its summer season with the Tim Rice-Benny Andersson-Bjorn Ulvaeus rock musical, Chess, closing Aug. 29. Performances began Aug. 17. Joe Aiello directs and Charlie Misovye choreographs.
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 Tim Rice (Aida, Evita) 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.
Written by Rice and ABBA's songwriting team, Andersson and Ulvaeus, Chess includes "One Night in Bangkok," "Heaven Help My Heart, "I Know Him So Well," "Pity the Child" and "Anthem."
Chess stars Eric Parker as Freddy, Scott Burkell (Titanic) as Anatoly, Danyelle Bossardet (Beauty and the Beast) as Florence, Penelope Alex as Svetlana, Aiello as Gregor Vassey, Roy Brown as Molokov, Cain M. Bilbrey as Walter and John C. Brown as the Arbiter.
The design team includes Dusty Reeds (set), Elaine Kauffman (costumes), Brian Collins (lighting) and Aaron Morse (sound). David Jenkins is the musical director. For tickets ($25-$22.50), call the Barn Theatre at (616) 731-4121. The Barn Theatre is located on the web at http://www.barntheatre.com.
Finishing off the summer season at the Barn will beThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, Aug. 31-Sept. 12
-- By Christine Ehren