Opening move as Chess announces return to the West End

Chess, the epic musical love story set amid the tensions of a world championship chess match, will play at the London Coliseum next April, it has been announced.

This will be the first West End revival since the original 1986 production, which starred Elaine Paige, Murray Head and Tommy Korberg.

That production, which ran for three years at the Prince Edward Theatre, followed a highly successful recording featuring the same stars, and included the international hit singles I Know Him So Well and One Night In Bangkok.

Other well-known songs from the score include Anthem, Someone Else’s Story, Heaven Help my Heart and Pity The Child.

The musical, written in 1984 by ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice is set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s/early 1980s when when the superpowers attempted to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends.

Two of the world’s greatest chess masters, one American, one Russian, are in danger of becoming the pawns of their governments as their battle for the world title gets under way.

Simultaneously their lives are thrown into further confusion by a Hungarian refugee, a remarkable woman who becomes the centre of their emotional triangle.

This mirrors the heightened passions of the political struggles that threaten to destroy lives and loves.

This new West End production, featuring English National Opera’s award-winning Orchestra and Chorus, will be directed by Laurence Connor, whose recent credits include School of Rock and Miss Saigon on Broadway and in the West End.

This is the fourth production in collaboration with ENO by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade, who brought Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, Carousel with Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins, and Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, to the London Coliseum.

Chess will run at the London Coliseum from April 26 to June 2.

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