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Over 100 Artists From SDSU Safely Collaborate On CHESS: IN CONCERT For Digital Streaming

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Available for digital streaming from December 3 – 6, 2020.

Over 100 Artists From SDSU Safely Collaborate On CHESS: IN CONCERT For Digital Streaming

Featuring over one hundred San Diego State University students, Chess: In Concert will be available for digital streaming from December 3 - 6, 2020. Chess is written by Tim Rice, Benny Andersson, and Björn Ulvaeus.

Because of the pandemic, new and innovative strategies were implemented to allow safe collaboration while still following SDSU and California Governor Gavin Newsom's guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid-19. Student actors were filmed in a six camera shoot by TV/Film students. That footage will be combined with individually filmed ensemble material and audio recordings from the SDSU Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir to create a monumental production for internet streaming.

"Producing a show of this scale during a pandemic has been a challenge, but also wonderfully exciting," said Director Stephen Brotebeck. "The collaborative spirit is high, and everyone involved is dedicated to creating the best piece of musical theatre that we can do under these circumstances. It may look a little different, and creating it has definitely been different, but we are eager to share the talents of our SDSU students in both the School of Theatre, Television, and Film and the School of Music and Dance to an even larger audience than normal, given that everyone can enjoy this production of Chess: In Concert from the comfort and safety of their homes."

The principal cast features MFA Musical Theatre graduate students whose collective work spans Broadway, international, and regional/local productions. The 2022 class includes Julio Catano, Victoria Fowler, Kyle Montgomery, Casey Craig, Christopher Shin, Clinton Sherwood, Sheldon Gomabon, and Melissa Glasgow.

Victoria Fowler, who starred as Elphaba in the National Tour of Wicked, plays Florence Vassy. "Rehearsing for Chess was unconventional, as it needed to be during these unconventional times," said Fowler. "With the limited ability to be in the same room at the same time, we came up with creative ways of learning the music and working through acting beats on Zoom, both rehearsing live and recording things and sending them to each other. It was then up to each actor individually to learn and rehearse their role so all the puzzle pieces fit once we could finally physically get together. It was surprisingly successful considering the newness of it all, and in the end I think we came out with something we can be proud of that's entertaining, beautiful and innovative."

For tickets, to SDSU's Chess: In Concert, visit the School of Theatre, Television, and Film website: https://ttf.sdsu.edu/events/chess-in-concert.

Chess: In Concert is a part of the Arts Alive SDSU Discovery Series. There will be a free, interdisciplinary panel conversation about the themes in the show on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. The panel will focus on the relationship between Cold War defections and current issues of immigration. Individuals can register to attend this free panel here.

The collaborators on Chess are giants of rock music and rock musicals, and here they have created a complex rock opera that played to full Broadway houses and standing ovations. In this musical, the ancient game becomes a metaphor for romantic rivalries, competitive gamesmanship, super-power politics, and international intrigues. The pawns in this drama form a love triangle: the loutish American chess star, the earnest Russian champion, and a Hungarian American female assistant who arrives at the international chess match in Bangkok with the American, but falls for the Russian. From Bangkok to Budapest the players, lovers, politicians, and spies manipulate and are manipulated to the pulse of a monumental rock score that includes "One Night in Bangkok" and "Heaven Help My Heart."



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