11th Hour Theatre Company Presents CHESS THE MUSICAL
11th Hour Theatre Company presents CHESS THE MUSICAL. Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, lyrics by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Lion King, Aida), and book by Richard Nelson. The concert is directed by 11th Hour co-founder and producing Artistic Director, Michael Philip O'Brien, with music direction by Madison Auch. This riveting rock musical event will perform January 11th-19th at Christ Church Neighborhood House, and will feature seven professional actors alongside an ensemble of eight Temple University students. Tickets are $19-$37 and can be purchased online at www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org or by phone at 267-987-9865.
"This has been a show that has been on 11th Hour's wish list for a very long time," director Michael Philip O'Brien says. "For many years, the only version that was available to license was the less successful American version, but the original UK stage version became available a couple of years ago and we knew we had to do it. The music for this piece is the perfect combination of pop, rock and epic 1980's musical theatre grandness and we can't wait to bring this piece to our audience." This UK version has been praised as "A buoyant, eclectic and stirring theatre-score" by the Observer.
Featuring the music of ABBA members Andersson and Ulvaeus, as well as lyrics by musical theatre icon, Tim Rice, this gripping musical was inspired by political and international spectacle of the 1972 World Chess Championship between American Bobby Fischer and Russian Boris Spassky. Set in the 1980's at the height of the Cold War, Chess illustrates how something as trivial as a game of chess can mean so much more when fueled by the threats and propaganda of nations at war.
On the subject matter, O'Brien comments: "Who knew that a show about the cold war and tension between the US and Russia would be relevant today, but with the current political climate, it is becoming more clear each day that all of the power struggles between these two nations are still very real today."
11th Hour's mission is to have an enduring impact on our community by producing musical works of theatre. We use the expertise of industry leaders and up-and-coming artists to create an intimate and lasting experience with our audience.
In the past fifteen years, 11th Hour Theatre Company has emerged as Philadelphia's premier boutique musical theatre company. In 2016, 11th Hour was awarded a New Theatre Works Initiative grant by the Independence Foundation, and in 2013, 11th Hour became the first-ever recipients of the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theater. Our work focuses on presenting intimate, character-driven stories rather than flashy, budget-busting spectacles. Our hope is that these stories prove the relevance of musical theatre in the contemporary world, engaging audiences and inspiring the next generation of musical theatre artists for years to come.
We produce a broad spectrum of musicals that fill a niche in the diverse Philadelphia theatre landscape: musicals that spark the creativity of our artists and the imaginations of our audience. In the 2014-2015 season, we produced our first world premiere, Michael Ogborn's Field Hockey Hot, which was a smashing success, and motivated us to create one of the first original cast albums to come out of Philadelphia in years. To date, we have produced twenty-one full-scale musicals, ten of which were Philadelphia premieres. Our hugely popular Next Step Concert Series is a staged-reading series that showcases musicals seldom seen in Philadelphia. In addition to Field Hockey Hot, the company has contributed to the development of several new musicals including Angst, Factory Girls, Five Points, Persephone (now titled Mythic) and Something Like A War. We also produced the American premiere of Austentatious that went on to success at the New York Musical Theatre Festival; and a 29-hour reading of Fantasy Football, the Musical? before its production at New York University. Both Austentatious and Fantasy Football have since been published and are now professionally licensed. In 2018, 11th Hour produced our second World Premiere musical, Big Red Sun, written by John Jiler and Georgia Stitt.
11th Hour has received a total of fifty-five Barrymore Award nominations to date. Our work has been recognized with fifteen awards, including Outstanding Overall Production Of A Musical (Lizzie), several individual awards for our artists, and the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre.