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Dropping in rehearsals for CHESS

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Whatsonstage Northeast took up the invite by Producer, Michael Harrison, to drop in on rehearsals for the forthcoming tour of Chess, which starts previews in Newcastle on August 27th.

Director of this new touring version is Craig Revel Horwood, who appeared to be totally calm and in control as he gave his cast direction, first from the Grand Circle, before moving down to the Stalls area of the Theatre Royal, where Michael and I were sitting.

But the immediate thing that hit me were the apparent complexities of the video production and therefore it is hard to imagine a show of this size will actually be a weekly touring production. Also there was no doubting that CHESS could be West End bound and that is even without seeing the full show.

Craig is directing a very strong cast whose pedigree in musical theatre cannot be questioned. Leading the way are Shona White (Wicked), Poppy Tierney (Mary Poppins, Aspects of Love, The Witches of Eastwick), James Graeme (The Phantom of the Opera), David Erik (Dirty Dancing, The Phantom of the Opera),  Daniel Koek (West Side Story) and James Fox (Fame Academy, Jesus Christ Superstar).

The musical is written by Tim Rice and ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and has a well known score which  includes the hits I Know Him So Well, One Night In Bangkok, Pity The Child , Anthem and You And I.

The story revolves around two of the world's greatest chess masters as they battle it out at the world chess championships while their greatest contest is actually for the love of one woman. Amidst political intrigue and international conspiracies, the American and the Russian fight to win the heart of Florence Vassy in a romantic triangle that mirrors the heightened passions of the Cold War.

Needless to say I am eagerly looking forward to reviewing the production when it officially opens on September 1st.


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