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Ramin Karimloo, Samantha Barks & More Will Lead CHESS in Japan

BroadwayWorld has just learned that Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia, Les Miserables), Samantha Barks (Pretty Woman), Luke Walsh, and Takanori Sato will lead a production of Chess at Osaka's Umeda Arts Theater. Directed by Nick Winston, the production will run on January 27, 2020. Click here for tickets.

Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of the pop group ABBA, lyrics by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice, and a book by Rice. The story involves a politically driven, Cold War-era chess tournament between two grandmasters from America and the USSR and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.

As with other productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, a highly successful concept album was released prior to the first theatrical production in order to raise money. In the case of Chess, the concept album was released in the autumn of 1984 while the show opened in London's West End in 1986 where it played for three years. A much-altered US version premiered on Broadway in 1988 with a book by Richard Nelson, but survived only for two months. Chess is frequently revised for new productions, many of which try to merge elements from both the British and American versions, but no major revival production of the musical had been attempted until a West End revival in 2018.


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