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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Theatre Thursday: J'adoube

Ah, Chess: that troublesome musical from the ABBA guys: Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (with lyrics by Tim Rice).
The concept album was very successful (the single "One Night in Bangkok" went to #3 in the U.S.) and whetted appetites for a full production. The West End production was a financial success - running for three years - but was met with mixed reviews critically. It was re-worked for Broadway where it did a spectacular . . . bellyflop.
This was followed recently by a somewhat lackluster concert version that aired on PBS.
Chess serves as a reminder that a great musical requires more than just great music and great singers.
However, there could be good news for this musical with a re-working of the show by the Signature Theatre in Washington D.C.
Though upon seeing the video that accompanies the Washington Post article, I am still skeptical.
For me, the best version of the show still exists in my mind's eye as I listen to the original concept album, though music video versions of the songs do add a little something as their own genre.
For example, here's Elaine Paige performing my favorite song from the show/album: "Nobody's Side."

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