The first West End production of Chess since 1986 is to star Michael Ball, Alexandra Burke, Murray Head, Tim Howar and Cassidy Janson. This epic musical love story will open at the London Coliseum on Thursday 26 April 2018 (Press night on Tuesday 1 May 2018) for a strictly limited 5 week season.
This is the fourth production in collaboration with English National Opera by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade, who brought Sunset Boulevard, Carousel and Sweeney Todd to the London Coliseum, the home of ENO. Michael Linnit and Michael Grade also produced 42nd Street, currently playing at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Michael Ball, Britain’s leading musical theatre star, will perform the role of Anatoly. Michael made his West End debut as Marius in the original London cast of Les Misérables; he starred in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love in the West End and on Broadway, in the London production of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion and as Caractacus Potts in the West End musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Alexandra Burke is Svetlana. Alexandra rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor in 2008, and currently stands as one of the most successful winners of the show selling well over 4 million records in the UK alone. In 2014 she made her West End debut playing the lead role of Rachel Marron in the much acclaimed musical, The Bodyguard . A UK tour followed. In August 2016, Alexandra starred as Deloris Van Cartier in the musical Sister Act, a new production directed by Craig Revel Horwood which toured the UK.
English actor and recording artist Murray Head is most recognised for his international hits Superstar (from Jesus Christ Superstar) and One Night in Bangkok from CHESS. He performed the role of world chess champion Frederick “Freddie” Trumper in the original London West End stage production of Chess that premiered on 14 May 1986.
Singer Tim Howar is best known as the lead vocalist with Mike + the Mechanics. He made his West End debut as the male lead in Peggy Sue Got Married. He has also appeared in West End productions of Rent and Rock of Ages.
Cassidy Janson is Florence. Her most recent project was the LEADING LADIES trio along with Amber Riley and Beverley Knight. Previous to this Cassidy played Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
CHESS tells a story of love and political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s/early 1980s, in which superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends. Two of the world’s greatest chess masters, one American, one Russian, are in danger of becoming the pawns of their governments as their battle for the world title gets under way. Simultaneously their lives are thrown into further confusion by a Hungarian refugee, a remarkable woman who becomes the centre of their emotional triangle. This mirrors the heightened passions of the political struggles that threaten to destroy lives and loves.