Check out footage from the current Japanese staging of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus' musical Chess, starring Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo (Les Misérables, Anastasia) and Samantha Barks (Pretty Woman, Les Misérables). The production plays in Osaka through January 28 before heading to the Tokyo International Forum Hall C February 1–9.
Karimloo plays Anatoly with Barks (soon to star in Frozen in London) as Florence, Luke Walsh (Rock of Ages) as Freddie, Takanori Sato as the Arbiter, Eliana as Svetlana, and Hideya Masuhara as Molokov. The ensemble includes Megumi Iino, Hiroaki Ito, Takashi Otsuka, Kana Okamoto, Naoki Shibahara, Tatsunori Senna, Kota Someya, Tomohiko Nakai, Nanaka, Ai Ninomiya, Ami Norimatsu, Maaya Harada, Kan Muto, Daisuke Moriyama, Sayaka Watabiki, and Kiyoka Wada.
Nick Winston directs and choreographs the musical overseas. Chess tells a story of love and political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s-early 1980s, in which superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends.
The 1984 musical features music by ABBA songwriters Andersson and Ulvaeus and lyrics by Tim Rice. The original 1986 London production ran for nearly three years in the West End. Despite a two-month Broadway run in 1988, Chess has amassed a legion of fans who are drawn to its operatic rock score that features such songs as “I Know Him So Well,” “Nobody’s Side,” “Someone Else’s Story,” “Pity the Child,” and the stand-out single, “One Night in Bangkok.”