The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts launches the inaugural season of Broadway Center Stage with CHESS, the epic rock opera about love and political intrigue set against the backdrop of the Cold War as two superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends.
Written in 1984 by songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!) and lyricist Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Evita), CHESS has been seen in numerous productions around the world. The original concept album spawned two international hit singles, “I Know Him So Well” and “One Night in Bangkok.”
Presented as a part of Broadway Center Stage, a Kennedy Center-produced series of musicals in semi-staged concerts, CHESS will run February 14-18, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater.
CHESS, which enjoyed a three-year run in London’s West End in 1986 and played Broadway in 1988, has been revised with a new book by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning writer Danny Strong (“Empire,” The Butler, Game Change).
“I have always been enormously proud of CHESS,” said Tim Rice. “Revisiting this show with a new book by Danny Strong is an exciting opportunity. I am delighted that CHESS will have a new world premiere at the Kennedy Center.”
Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening), CHESS stars Raúl Esparza (Company, the Kennedy Center’s Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along) as American chess champion Freddie Trumper; Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia) as rival Russian chess star Anatoly Sergievsky; Tony Award winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I, Here Lies Love) as Anatoly’s wife, Svetlana Sergievsky; and Tony Award winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story, In the Heights) as Florence Vassy, a remarkable Hungarian refugee who becomes the center of the emotional triangle. Joining them are Bradley Dean (Dear Evan Hansen) as Ivan Molokov, Sean Allan Krill (Honeymoon in Vegas) as Walter Anderson, and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) as the Arbiter.
The CHESS ensemble includes 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. Additional casting, creative team, and designers will be announced shortly.
Broadway Center Stage: CHESS will be performed Wednesday, February 14-Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18. Tickets from $49 are currently on sale. For more information visit the Kennedy Center website, in-person at the Kennedy Center box office, or call (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.