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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Chess the Musical

It first hit London's West End back in the 80s — and features music by ABBA's Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.
By Sarah Ward
April 22, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
April 22, 2021
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Prior to 2020, if someone told you that Chess the Musical was a very real thing that definitely exists, you could've been forgiven for being a little perplexed. But it does and, with everyone obsessed with the chess-focused Netflix series The Queen's Gambit over the past few months, it's hitting Melbourne's Regent Theatre between Thursday, April 22–Saturday, April 24.

Chess the Musical actually dates back decades, first hitting London's West End in 1986. In line with that era, it's set against the background of the Cold War. Here, Soviet and American forces both try to use an international chess championship for political gain, and manipulate the outcome. The tale that also involves a love triangle, between Hungarian-born refugee Florence Vasse and two chess grandmasters.

If you thought that singing about chess mightn't be all that exciting, ABBA's Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus wrote the tunes, while Ulvaeus and musical veteran Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) penned the lyrics. And, if you've ever heard 80s tracks 'I Know Him So Well' and 'One Night in Bangkok', they actually hail from Chess the Musical.

Keen for a glimpse of what you're in for? Check out the video for Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson's 'I Know Him So Well' below:

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