Theater News

Ramin Karimloo, Samantha Barks, and More to Star in Chess in Japan

Luke Walsh will also star in the Benny Andersson-Björn Ulvaeus musical in Osaka and Tokyo.

Ramin Karimloo and Samantha Barks will star in a production of Chess in Japan.
Ramin Karimloo and Samantha Barks will star in a production of Chess in Japan.
(© Allison Stock / David Gordon)

The Benny Andersson-Björn Ulvaeus musical Chess is coming to Japan, and it's bringing some Broadway stars along for the ride.

Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia) and Samantha Barks (Pretty Woman) will star in the new production, which will run January 25-28 at the Umeda Arts Theater Main Hall ins Osaka, Japan; and February 1-9 at the Tokyo International Forum Hall C in Tokyo. Luke Walsh (Rock of Ages) will play Freddie.

The rest of the cast will include Takanori Sato as the Arbiter, Eliana as Svetlana, and Hideya Masuhara as Molokov, as well as an ensemble that includes Megumi Iino, Hiroaki Ito, Takashi Otsuka, Kana Okamoto, Yousuke Kawano, Naoki Shibahara, Tatsunori Senna, Kota Someya, Nanaka, Ai Ninomiya, Ami Norimatsu, Maya Harada, Kan Muto, Daisuke Moriyama, Sayaka Watabiki, and Kiyoka Wada. Nick Winston will direct and choreograph the production.

Check out some rehearsal clips of Karimloo, Barks, Walsh, and the rest of the company in the video below:

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."