Chess in Concert, with Menzel, Pascal and Groban, to Air on PBS in June

By Andrew Gans
16 Apr 2009

Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel

Chess in Concert, the two-night, star-studded event that was presented at London's Royal Albert Hall May 12-13, 2008, will air on PBS stations around the country in June.

According to a "Great Performances" spokesperson, the concert of the Benny Anderson-Tim Rice-Björn Ulvaeus musical will air on PBS stations beginning June 17 at 9 PM ET; check local listings. Chess in Concert was directed for telecast by David Horn and produced by Austin Shaw.

A DVD of the concert will also be available June 6.

Chess in Concert boasted Tony Award winner Idina Menzel as Florence, Tony nominee Adam Pascal as Frederick Trumper with internationally acclaimed vocalist Josh Groban as Anatoly Sergievsky, London Wicked star Kerry Ellis as Svetlana, David Bedella as Molokov, Clarke Peters as Walter and Marti Pellow as The Arbiter. The ensemble included Grant Anthony, Christopher Colley, Tiffany Graves, Leila Benn Harris, David Michael Johnson, Debbie Kurup, Aoife Mulholland and Tabitha Webb.

The concert also featured the 50-piece City of London Philharmonic, led by David Firman, and the 100-voice West End Chorus.



Hugh Wooldridge, who adapted the musical for the concert, directed; David Firman conducted the orchestra.

Chess, according to press notes, "involves a romantic triangle between two players in a World Chess Championship, and the woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the characters' personalities are loosely based on those of Victor Korchnoi and Bobby Fischer."

The Benny Anderson-Tim Rice-Björn Ulvaeus musical Chess debuted on the London stage with a cast led by Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg and Murray Head, while the short-lived Broadway company featured Judy Kuhn, Philip Casnoff and the late David Carroll. The score includes such tunes as "Nobody's Side," "One Night in Bangkok," "Anthem," "I Know Him So Well," "Pity the Child" and "You and I." The original Broadway cast recording was released on RCA Victor.

Visit pbs.org/gperf for additional information.