Chess in Concert, with Menzel, Pascal and Groban, Debuts on PBS June 17

News   Chess in Concert, with Menzel, Pascal and Groban, Debuts on PBS June 17
Chess in Concert, the two-night, star-studded event that was presented at London's Royal Albert Hall May 12-13, 2008, debuts on PBS stations around the country June 17.
Chess star Josh Groban
Chess star Josh Groban Photo by Tristram Kenton

The "Great Performances" presentation of the Benny Anderson-Tim Rice-Björn Ulvaeus musical will air in the New York metropolitan area on WNET/Thirteen at 8 PM ET; check local listings.

Chess in Concert was directed for telecast by David Horn and produced by Austin Shaw. A CD and DVD of the concert were released June 16 by Reprise Records.

Chess in Concert features 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 includes 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.

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For those in Manhattan, the Laurie Beechman Theatre will present a screening of Chess in Concert June 17 at 9 PM. Director Hugh Wooldridge will introduce the evening. There is no cover charge, but there is a $15 minimum; call (212) 695-6909 for reservations. The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located at 407 West 42nd Street within the West Bank Cafe.

Josh Groban, Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal in <i>Chess</i>
Josh Groban, Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal in Chess Photo by Tristram Kenton
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