Shows "C"

CHESS Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus : Lyrics by Tim Rice.: Based on an idea by Tim Rice Prince Edward Theatre, London - 14 May, 1986 (1209 perfs) Imperial Theatre, Broadway - 28 April, 1988 (68 perfs) SYNOPSIS This highly acclaimed musical develops the ancient and distinguished game of chess into a metaphor for romantic rivalries and East-West political intrigue. The principal pawns form a love triangle: the loutish American Grandmaster, the earnest Russian champion, and the Hungarian-American female chess second, who arrives at the international championships with the American but falls for the Russian. From Tyrol to Thailand the players, lovers, politicians, CIA and KGB make their moves to the pulse of this monumental rock score. Several numbers, including "One Night in Bangkok" and "I Know Him So Well", are international hits. STORY Act 1 The president of the International Chess Federation—known as "The Arbiter" for his role as the tournament's referee—speculates on the origins of the game of chess before announcing the location of the upcoming world chess championship: the northern Italian town of Merano. As the townsfolk prepare for the occasion, the current world chess champion, Frederick "Freddie" Trumper of the United States, arrives with his second and implied lover: Hungarian-born, English-raised Florence Vassy. In their hotel room, Florence remarks on the press's portrayal of Freddie in a negative light because of his bad boy attitude and brash behaviour. Regardless of Florence's wish that he control his temper, Freddie heads off to a press conference where he immediately assaults a journalist who questions his relationship with Florence. Freddie's Russian challenger, Anatoly Sergievsky, as well as Alexander Molokov, Anatoly's second (and a KGB agent), watch Freddie with curiosity and disdain on television. Afterwards, Anatoly, now alone, laments the selling out of his dreams and ambitions to get to where he is today. The opening ceremony features the U.S. and Soviet delegates each vowing their side will win, The Arbiter insisting on a fair and clean game, and marketers looking to make a profit. During the increasingly intense match, Freddie suddenly bursts out of the arena, leaving the chessboard on the floor and Florence to pick up the pieces with Anatoly, Molokov, and The Arbiter, whereby she promises to bring Freddie and Anatoly together in order to diplomatically revive the tournament. It turns out that Freddie engineered the outburst to get a higher price from an American media company, Global Television, though Walter de Courcey— the company's agent overseeing the match and a member of Freddie's delegation—criticizes the stunt as ludicrous. Florence and Freddie consequently argue until he spitefully turns the conversation toward her missing father, believed captured by Soviet forces during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. She reflects cynically about chess and politics before heading off to the Merano Mountain Inn for the peaceful meeting she has scheduled between Freddie and Anatoly. Freddie, though, does not immediately turn up, leaving Anatoly and Florence awkwardly alone together; however, they eventually embrace as surprising romantic feelings arise before being interrupted by Freddie, who has been working out new financial terms with Global TV. The chess tournament proceeds, culminating in a series of victories for Anatoly with only one more needed to make him winner of the entire tournament. Due to Freddie's atrocious attitude in the aftermath of his defeats, Florence finally deserts him, whereby Freddie ponders how his unhappy childhood left him the man he is today. He sends The Arbiter a letter of resignation, resulting in Anatoly's automatically becoming the new world champion. Immediately, Anatoly defects from the Soviet Union and goes to the British embassy, where he attempts to seek asylum in England. Florence, accompanying Anatoly, reflects on their