• Little known ABBA musical 'Chess' coming to the West End with high hopes for Broadway

    ABBA's Mamma Mia musical is one of the biggest of all time with over 60 million of the world's population having flocked to see shows on Broadway, the West End or any of the other 50 countries the hit production has played in. But, once upon a time, there was another musical attempted by the Swedish pop powerhouse – and it's coming back. 

    21st Feb 2018By Matthew Whitehouse

    Chess,the Cold War-era rock musical about a chess tournament, was notexactly a smash hit when it launched in 1988, closing after just 68 performances, but it is indeed happening.

    With a score by ABBA'sBenny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, lyrics by Jesus Christ Superstar writer Tim Rice, a great cast and radio hitOne Night in Bangkok, the show seemed set for success.

    But, after a lukewarm reception from awards bodies, it was pulled.

    Nowthough, Chess is making its next move and is due to open on London'sWest End with Michael Ball and Alexandra Burke in the lead roles.

    And in the US, the musical – considered an allegory of the Cold War – just debuted at the Eisenhower Theatre in Washington D.C with Broadway star Raul Esparza in the lead role and hopes to take the show to New York.

    After opening, Tim Rice, tweeted: "Thanks to all for a great new ‘Chess’ at the Kennedy Center. Superb company, fab reactions in hall & online. Where next? Fingers crossed…"

    The play sees the two world's greatest chess masters, one Russian and one American, in danger of becoming government pawns as they battle to become world champions.

    Speakingwith Metro Weekly, US lead Raul said of the current political situation: “Mygrandmother risked her life, and her children’s lives, to come tothis country, without knowing the language, without any clothes,without any money.

    "I’mabsolutely furious about what’s happening right now, because it’sa country built on the backs of immigrants, and we are proud of that.And we’ll continue to be proud of that because also by extension,America is a greater idea than any one administration."

    The US production of Chesswill play until this Sunday (February 18), in the Eisenhower Theatre andwill play London's Coliseum theatre on the West End from April 26–June 2.

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