73 minutes | May 25, 2021

One Night In Bangkok

"Nobody's on nobody's side" as hosts Bobby and Kristina discuss 1988's Chess on episode eleven of My Favorite Flop.   ABOUT CHESS Set against the Cold War tensions present in the 1980s, Chess tells the story of a politically-driven chess tournament between two grandmasters, one American and the other Soviet Russian, and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. The musical features a book by Tim Rice, music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and lyrics by Ulvaeus and Rice. A revised book by playwright Richard Nelson was used on Broadway and in some later revisions. Lyricist Tim Rice had long wanted to create a musical about the Cold War. His first notion was to write a straightforward piece about the Cuban Missile Crisis, however, by the late 1970s, he had developed the idea to tell the story through the prism of the long-standing chess rivalry between the United States and the USSR instead. His initial hope was to begin work on the project after the international success of Evita, with Andrew Lloyd Webber joining him once again, but Webber declined. At around same time, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of the pop group ABBA were looking to break away from the band and compose something more significant for the theatre. After meeting in 1981, a new collaboration was formed, and work would soon begin on what would eventually be known as Chess. Just like Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita before it, it was decided that Chess would first be released as a concept album. Hitting record stores in 1984, the album was a huge hit, selling millions of copies worldwide and garnishing critical acclaim. At the time, it was the most successful theatrical cast album ever produced and it was no surprise that a stage production would soon follow. The road to the stage, however, would be a troubled one. After much turmoil, the original London production opened to mixed-to-positive reviews in 1986 and ran for three years. A much-altered version, however, premiered on Broadway in 1988 and survived only for two months. Despite that, Chess is frequently revised for new productions around the world, many of which try to merge elements from both the British and American versions, and there is constant talk of an eventual first-class revival. A West End revival played in London in 2018 for just over a month.   Original Broadway Cast David Carroll as Anatoly Sergievsky Phillip Casnoff as Freddie Trumper Judy Kuhn as Florence Vassy Marcia Mitzman as Svetlana Sergievsky Harry Goz as Molokov Dennis Parlato as Walter Paul Harman as The Arbiter Neal Ben-Ari as Gregor Vassey Gina Gallagher as Young Florence Kurt Johns as Nickolai Eric Johnson as Harold Richard Muenz as Joe John Aller, Suzanne Briar, Steve Clemente, Katherine Lynne Condit, Ann Crumb, David Cryer, R. F. Daley, Deborah Geneviere, Paul Laureano, Rosemary Loar, Judy McLane, Jessica Molaskey, Kip Niven, Francis Ruivivar, Alex Santoriello, and Wysandria Woolsey as Ensemble
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