American Coast Theater Company Presents CHESS THE MUSICAL

The production is presented in the Lyceum Theater on the Vanguard University campus, beginning June 6th, 2024, and plays two weeks through June 16th.

By: Jun. 04, 2024
American Coast Theater Company Presents CHESS THE MUSICAL
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American Coast Theater Company presents Chess the Musical by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Tim Rice. The production is presented in the Lyceum Theater on the Vanguard University campus, beginning June 6th, 2024, and plays two weeks through June 16th.

Director Susan K. Berkompas said of the production, "Ever since the London premiere of Chess the musical, I fell in love with the soundtrack with Elaine Page as Florence! I was in my B.F.A. program at the time, and I'll never forget unwrapping that brand new CD! Since then, I always knew that I must someday direct this rock opera! And then I heard Adam Pascal sing Freddie and Josh Groban sing Anatoly in the Chess in Concert version, not to mention Idina Menzel as Florence, and I knew my day was coming to direct the original London version. This has been my passion project in the making for several years! With Scott Cokely's genius as Music Director, Hannah Simmons choreography, and Sarah Grandpre's gifts working with ensemble choirs (director of America's Got Talent award winning youth choir, Voices of Hope), I knew this would be something special! I love this music! The story of Chess is less about the game and more about the love triangle and the games that political leaders play to gain power. The political climate of today reminds us that history is always capable of repeating itself when humans are involved...that we are all capable of the very best and the very worst, controlling and manipulating as we use one another as pawns."

About the Director

Susan K. Berkompas received her B.F.A. in Acting /Directing from the University of Montana and M.F.A. in Acting/Directing from CalRep. She has served as Theatre Department Chair for 26 years at Vanguard University and teaches acting and directing courses. She is a member of SDC, SAG, and AFTRA. She is the recipient of the KCACTF Excellence in Education and Gold Medallion Awards and is an alumnus of Directors Lab West. She studied Shakespeare with Sir John Barton at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford and is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of American Coast Theater Company (ACTC). Sue has directed over 100 shows including Othello, Metamorphoses, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Crucible, Kiss Me Kate, Life Without Parole, Xanadu, Forever Plaid, Around the World in 80 Days, The Great Divorce and Chess. She has played such roles as Gertrude (Hamlet), Eleanor (The Lion in Winter), Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire), Kate (All My Sons), Kate (Taming of the Shrew), Joy (Shadowlands), Edith/Edie (Gray Gardens), and recently Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie at the Ellen Theater in Bozeman, MT.

About Chess the Musical

Written in 1984 by ABBA songwriters Benny Anderssön and Bjorn Ulvaeus, and lyrics by Tim Rice, Chess tells a story of love and political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War, in which superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship. 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 center of their emotional triangle. This mirrors the heightened passions of the political struggles that threaten to destroy lives and loves. From Bangkok to Budapest, the players, lovers, politicians, and spies all struggle to get the upper-hand.

Cast and Creative Team

Rezia Landers as Florence, Logan Eliza as Svetlana, Scott Roberts as Frederick, Josh Martin as Anatoly, Jeff Tierney as Arbiter, Matthew Barge as Molokov. Adam Castrillon as Walter, featured singers Jack A Krimmel, Mary Desmond (Svetlana & Florence understudy), Ensemble: Yasmine Reid, Audrey Gall, Christina Rose (featured dancer), Isaac Yescas (featured dancer), Brandon Arias, and Patrick O'Connor (mayor).

Band: Scott Cokely (Musical Director/Piano), Diane Van (Piano 2), Eby Vivrors (Bass), David Page (Drums), Richard Guzman (Lead guitar), and Kelly Cokely (Percussion).

Creative Team: Founding Producing Artistic Director, Susan K. Berkompas, is the director. Scott Cokely (Music Director), Sarah Grandpre (Ensemble & Musical Director) and Hannah Simmons (Choreographer). Paul Eggington and Jim Huffman (Set Designers); Lia Hansen (Costume Designer); Garrett Spady (Lighting Designer); Madison Melendes (Company & Stage Manager); Lily Hinojosa (Theatre Manager); Natalia Elizalde (Assistant Theatre Manager); ACTC Interns/Apprentices: Matthew Barge, Jenna Bolar, Jaden Massaro, Julia Flores, Christina Rose, Kendra Barnhart, Gregory Dodd, Oboroghene Chindindu Fieboh.


All performances are presented on the campus of Vanguard University, in the Lyceum Theater. Ticket prices are $30 for general admission and $20 for seniors, children, college students and groups. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling the Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145. Performance dates and times are June 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15 at 7:30pm and June 8, 9, 15, 16 at 2:00pm.


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