Raúl Esparza, Ramin Karimloo, Ruthie Ann Miles, and Karen Olivo to Star in Chess
The Kennedy Center production will feature a new book by Danny Strong.
The Kennedy Center will open the inaugural season of Broadway Center Stage, a series of musicals in semi-staged concerts, with Chess, written in 1984 by songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!) and lyricist Tim Rice (The Lion King). The production will run February 14-18 in the Eisenhower Theater.
Directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Chess will star Raúl Esparza (Company) 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) as Svetlana Sergievsky, and Tony Award winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story) as Florence Vassy, a 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.
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." The show, which played Broadway in 1988, has been revised with a new book by Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning writer Danny Strong (Empire).
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.
Following Chess, the Broadway Center Stage series continues with In the Heights (March 21-25) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (June 6-8).