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Murray Head leaves the West End production of Chess

The actor, who starred in the original West End production, will be replaced by Cedric Neal

Murray Head
© Frederic Aranda

Murray Head will no longer appear in the West End production of Chess, it has been announced.

A statement released today said: "The producers of Chess announce with great regret that Murray Head is to leave the cast due to personal reasons. Cedric Neal will replace Murray in the production. Cedric was most recently in the West End when he starred as Berry Gordy in Motown the Musical and will now return to the UK to play The Arbiter in the forthcoming production at the London Coliseum."

Head performed in the original run of the musical alongside Elaine Paige and Tommy Körberg when it debuted in the West End.

Neal has also appeared onstage in Porgy and Bess and his TV credits include Friday Night Lights.

The 1984 musical by ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Lion King) tells the story of two chess champions, Freddie and Anatoly, battling it out in the midst of the Cold War. The cast of the revival production includes Michael Ball, Cassidy Janson and Alexandra Burke.

Chess runs from 1 May to 2 June at the London Coliseum with previews from 26 April.