Chess, Starring Raúl Esparza, Ramin Karimloo, Ruthie Ann Miles, and Karen Olivo, Begins at the Kennedy Center | Playbill

Regional News Chess, Starring Raúl Esparza, Ramin Karimloo, Ruthie Ann Miles, and Karen Olivo, Begins at the Kennedy Center
Michael Mayer directs the semi-staged concert presentation of the operatic pop-rock musical that features a revised book by Danny Strong.

Chess, the 1984 musical by ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, and Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar lyricist Tim Rice, returns in a new production helmed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Running February 14–18, the Kennedy Center production features Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia, Les Misérables) as Russian chess star Anatoly Sergievski and Raúl Esparza (Company, Leap of Faith) as American chess champion Freddie Trumper, with Tony Award winner winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I) as Svetlana Sergievsky and Tony winner Karen Olivo (In the Heights) as Florence Vassey.

This new incarnation of Chess features a revised book by Emmy Award-winning Empire and Game Change writer Danny Strong. The orchestral rock musical about the egos and emotions that collide during an international Chess championship between America and Russia has undergone numerous book revisions since its 1986 West End premiere.

The cast also includes Bradley Dean (Dear Evan Hansen) as Ivan Molokov, Sean Allan Krill (Honeymoon in Vegas) as Walter Anderson, and Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) as the Arbiter.

The cast is completed by Paige Faure, Nkrumah Gatling, Casey Garvin, Adam Halpin, Ericka Hunter, Sean MacLaughlin, Morgan Marcell, Marissa McGowan, Chelsea Turbin, Christopher Vo, Minami Yusui, and Ricardo Zayas.

The original 1986 London production of Chess, which was born out of a 1984 concept album, ran for three years. Its 1988 Broadway counterpart, which incorporated new musical material and a revised book by playwright Richard Nelson, played a brief two-month run.

Chess is the inaugural presentation in the Kennedy Center's Broadway Center Stage series, which is overseen by Broadway producer Jeffrey Finn.

Chess has has choreography by Lorin Latarro, music direction by Chris Fenwick, orchestrations by Brian Usifer, sets by Tony winner David Rockwell (She Loves Me), lighting design by Tony winner Kevin Adams (SpongeBob SquarePants, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), costumes by Tony winner Clint Ramos (Once on This Island, Eclipsed), sound design by Tony nominee Kai Harada (The Band’s Visit, Follies), and projections by Darrel Maloney (The Parisian Woman).

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