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Menzel and Groban lead Chess concert

Published 17 April 2008

Idina Menzel, last seen in London playing misunderstood witch Elphaba in Wicked, returns in May to lead the cast of Chess In Concert, which receives two performances at the Royal Albert Hall. Menzel, who plays Florence, is joined by US recording sensation Josh Groban, who plays the Russian for the shows on 12 and 13 May.

The musical tale of a love triangle at the World Chess Championship is presented at the Royal Albert Hall in a form never before seen. The story has been streamlined by adaptor/director Hugh Wooldridge, while the leads will be accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra (The City of London Philharmonic), a 100-strong choir (West End Chorus) and the largest pipe organ in Europe.

Chess features book and lyrics by Tim Rice, and music by Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson. Originally released as a concept album in 1984, it received its West End premiere in 1986 and ran for three years at the Prince Edward. The show’s famous score includes hits such as One Night In Bangkok and I Know Him So Well, which reached number one in the charts when it was released as a single by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson.

Menzel made her West End debut when she opened the London production of Wicked playing Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, a role she originated on Broadway. In addition to other Broadway credits including Rent and The Wild Party, Menzel is a singer/songwriter, penning nine songs on her debut album I Stand.

Groban is a record-breaking American baritone whose recent Christmas-themed album Noel was 2007’s biggest selling album in the USA, while Groban was the top selling artist of 2007. Breaking onto the music scene in 2001, he is probably best known for his appearances on Ally McBeal and for his single You Raise Me Up.

Further casting is yet to be confirmed.

MA

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