The Kennedy Center's concert production of Chess began performances last night for its limited run through February 18. The 1984 musical by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice is presented in a new adaptation by Danny Strong.
Directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer, Chess stars Raúl Esparza (Company) as Freddie Trumper, Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia) as Anatoly Sergievsky, Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I) as Svetlana Sergievsky, Tony winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story) as Florence Vassy, 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.
Joining the creative team are choreographer Lorin Latarro, music director Chris Fenwick, orchestrator and arranger Brian Usifer, set designer David Rockwell, lighting designer Kevin Adams, projection designer Darrel Maloney, sound designer Kai Harada, and costume designer Clint Ramos.
Chess is described as an "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." The original concept album spawned two international hit singles, "I Know Him So Well" and "One Night in Bangkok."
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