The Alliance Theatre's production of Chess starring Sean McDermott and Brian d'Arcy James will extend at the Atlanta venue through Sept. 26. Original performance dates were Aug. 26-Sept. 19. David H. Bell, veteran of productions of the musical in Chicago, Long Beach and Pittsburgh, directs.
Not continuing with the production will be Kim Huber. Huber, who played Florence, came to Chess from performing Nellie in Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins on tour in San Diego, Philadelphia and Chicago. She performed on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard and as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She will leave Chess to join the cast of Broadway's Marie Christine.
McDermott, performing the role of the American chess player, Freddy, appeared on Broadway as Danny in the most recent revival of Grease!, as Chris in Miss Saigon and in Starlight Express, playing Rusty on the tour of the same show. Brian d'Arcy James, playing Russian chess champion Anatoly, created the role of Frederick Barrett in Broadway's Titanic, a role he also played briefly on the 1999 tour. Other credits include Freddy in a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS concert version of Chess, Les Miserables and the original Off- Broadway production of Floyd Collins.
Also in the cast are Rebekah Baty (Alliance's Grapes of Wrath) as Svetlana, Charles Pistone (Joey in Bway's The Most Happy Fella, London's Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Molokov and La Paree Young (Alliance's Hot Mikado) as Walter. 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, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, Chess includes "One Night in Bangkok," "Heaven Help My Heart, "I Know Him So Well," "Pity the Child" and "Anthem."
Designing Chess are Dex Edwards (set), Susan Mickey (costumes), Diane Ferry (lighting) and Brian Kettler (sound).
Tickets are $40-$15 and are available by calling the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at (404) 733-5000. The Woodruff Arts Center is located at 1280 Peachtree Street.