Broadway 'Chess' Checked

By Roger Catlin on January 10, 2009 9:40 AM
From the Hartford Courant at

Lyricist Tim Rice is excited that his recently staged concert performance of “Chess” in London is getting a showcase on PBS this year.

That’s partly because the version of the musical he wrote with two members of Abba may be only known to Americans from a failed bygone Broadway production that he admitted “was not good.”

At an evening session at press tour featuring the man who also helped write shows from “Jesus Christ Superstar” to “The Lion King” — and a later performance by Idina Menzel, who starred in the British concert version of “Chess” that also featured Josh Grobin and Adam Pascal — Rice said of the 1979 Broadway version, “I’m afraid we got it wrong. We changed it too much.”

But the British concert version PBS will present is the one he hopes people will continue to adopt, especially in an era when the music of Abba has been rediscoverd largely through the success of the show “Mamma Mia.”

“This is the version I would like to be adopted,” Rice said.

“Chess in Concert” will run on PBS“Great Performances” airs this summer.

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