Robert Cuccioli, Natascia Diaz, Drew Sarich Star in Chess Concert, Benefiting Actors Fund, July 30

By Andrew Gans
30 Jul 2012

Natascia Diaz
Natascia Diaz

Chess "In Concept" Concert, which benefits the Actors Fund, is presented July 30 at LaGuardia Arts at Lincoln Center.

The evening, produced, directed and arranged by Christopher Martin, features the talents of Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli as the Russian, Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz as Florence and Drew Sarich as the American with Tamra Hayden, Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Gus Solomons Jr., Scott Wakefield and William Youmans.

This "stripped-down all through-sung concert version will focus on the music, lyrics and characters, emulating the original 1984 concept album and incorporating virtually all of the original London score," according to press notes.

About his concept for this one-night-only concert version of Chess, director Martin recently told Playbill.com, "Superstar and Evita have endured and are still very much with us. They, too, were concept albums that became musicals. What was different about Chess? It had dialogue by the time it hit the stage. So I went back to square one and reconstructed the score based on the concept album version, carefully filling it out with the London stage score. The music tells the story, the lyrics define the characters. The Cold War was never meant to be the main storyline. That came out of the London version. The music and lyrics don't support it. The Cold War setting adds an interesting frame for the musical, but the tensions have everything to do with winning the game, and I don't mean the political one. The Soviets were a very proud people. They liked winning. They liked winning over the United States. The players in Chess want to win the game. And the girl. What could be better material for a powerful musical? So, what we have is through-composed and through-sung. From square one to all 64."



Read the recent Playbill Diva Talk interview with Natascia Diaz here.

The Benny Andersson, Tim Rice and Bjorn Ulvaeus musical is described as such: "A love story set against an international chess championship match between American and Russian players, [the musical] was inspired by the U.S. vs. USSR match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in Iceland in 1972. In the show, East meets West in Merano, Italy and Bangkok, Thailand and the story involves a romantic triangle between two top players and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other."

Songs include "Someone Else's Story," "One Night in Bangkok," "Anthem" and "I Know Him So Well."

LaGuardia Arts is located at 100 Amsterdam Avenue. Tickets, priced at $128.50 (reserved) and $67.50 (general admission), can be purchased at SmartTix.com or by phone at (212) 868-4444.

The production is also offering a limited amount of $30 Student Rush Tickets to students with a valid ID, cash only. There is a special 30 percent discount for regular tickets as well; use code CH302 for the $128.50 tickets, CH303 for the $97.50 tickets, and CH301 for the $67.50 (general admission) tickets.