An all-star benefit concert version of Chess will play on two Sundays, May 10 and May 17, at 8 PM at the John Houseman Theatre on New York's West 42nd Street. With different actors taking certain key roles on different nights, it was announced April 7. Proceeds will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Robert Evan stars as the Russian with Jekyll & Hyde co-star Christiane Noll as Florence and Alice Ripley (Side Show) as Svetlana at both performances. Raymond Jaramillo McLoud (Jekyll & Hyde) plays Molokov, Danny Zolli, the Arbiter, and Michael Cerveris (Titanic) narrates the concert, also both times.
Casting for the American, however, will switch between performances. Brian d'Arcy James (Titanic) will perform as the American on May 10 only, while the May 17 performance will feature Dave Clemmons (The Scarlet Pimpernel) as the American.
Philip Hoffman directs with musical direction by Neil Berg. Also involved are Bruce Roberts (Executive Producer), Caralyn Spector (Production Supervisor), Jonathan Schulman (General Manager), and Babette Roberts (Production Stage Manager). 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. Susbsequent revivals and concert versions have been done since, most recently staged in New York in a 1992 Off-Broadway at the Master Theater.
Tickets are $50 and go on sale April 9. There are also a limited number of $100 tickets which include a post-show cast reception. Tickets may be purchased after April 9 by calling Hit Tix at (212) 354-2220 from 10 AM to 8 PM. Actors are subject to change without notice.
-- By Christine Ehren