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Alexandra Burke, Cassidy Janson, Michael Ball and Tim Howar

Chess revival masterminds star-studded casting

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson Published 16 February 2018

Michael Ball, Alexandra Burke and Cassidy Janson will star in the upcoming West End revival of epic musical Chess, as initial casting is confirmed today.

The Chess cast will also feature Murray Head, who led the original 1986 production of Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice’s masterpiece, this time around playing The Arbiter, while West End star Tim Howar (Rent, Rock Of Ages) takes on Head’s original role, Freddie.

Leading musical theatre star and double Olivier Award-winner Ball will play Anatoly, Freddie’s Soviet Russian challenger in the titular Cold War-era chess championship, while X Factor winner and former The Bodyguard star Burke has been cast as Svetlana, his estranged wife. Janson, who recently played the eponymous role of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, will play Florence, Freddie’s presumed lover.

Chess includes numerous famous musical songs, including I Know Him So Well, One Night In Bangkok, Anthem, Someone Else’s Story, Heaven Help My Heart and Pity The Child. The show originally premiered in the West End in 1986, with a cast including Head, Elaine Paige and Tommy Korberg. It went on to run for three years at the Prince Edward Theatre.

The musical is a love story set to a backdrop of heightened political tensions. As the Cold War looms in the late 1970s and early 1980s, political superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship. Two of the world’s greatest chess masters, the American Frederick “Freddie” Trumper, and the Russian Anatoly Sergievsky, are thrown into the centre of political – and later personal – struggles which threaten to tear apart their lives.

Chessis the fourth show which Michael Linnit and Michael Grade have produced in collaboration with English National Opera, following Sunset Boulevard, Carousel and Sweeney Todd.

The revival, will begins previews on Thursday 26 April, will play a strictly limited 5 week season at the London Coliseum.

Don’t miss out – book your Chess tickets today!

 

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ABBA alexandra burke cassidy janson casting chess michael ball murray head tim howar

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