Chess in Concert
Preview of Chess in Concert

Wicked’s Idina Menzel and Rent’s Adam Pascal join Great Performances favorite, internationally renowned vocalist Josh Groban in a spectacular London concert revival of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ 1986 cult musical Chess, premiering Wednesday, June 17 at 9 p.m. (ET) on Great Performances (check local listings). Presented by THIRTEEN in 5.1 digital surround sound on PBS HD, and featuring diamond-sharp lyrics by Tim Rice (Evita, The Lion King), the hit-filled production (“One Night in Bangkok,” “I Know Him So Well,” “The Anthem”) was recorded in performance at Royal Albert Hall.

Watch a preview:

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Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

“A fantastic night” proclaimed musiccomh.com, while thestage.co asked “Is there an original pop musical stuffed with better melodies?” neatly echoing Time’s initial 1988 assessment: “One of the best rock scores ever produced.” Adding to the excitement is the 50-piece City of London Philharmonic, led by David Firman, and the 100-voice West End Chorus.

ABBA composers Andersson and Ulvaeus created their first musical theater work more than a decade before striking pay dirt with their phenomenon, Mamma Mia. It was the inspired idea of lyricist/librettist Rice to match the pair with his cold war tale: the East/West Chess Championship and the romantic triangle that develops between the Russian and American competitors and the beautiful woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Chart topper Groban (Awake, Closer, Noel) sings the Russian player, Anatoly; Rent Tony and Drama Desk Award-nominee Pascal is the American Freddie, and Tony-winner Menzel (Wicked Witch Elphaba) is Florence, the woman between them.

Chess in Concert is a co-production of THIRTEEN, Reprise Records and Peppermint Pictures, in association with Heartaches Ltd. Directed for telecast by David Horn and produced by Austin Shaw, it was recorded at Albert Hall May 12, 2008. Hugh Wooldridge staged the concert adaptation.

Josh Groban includes among his many Great Performances appearances Josh Groban in Concert (2002), Josh Groban at the Greek (2004) and last December’s David Foster & Friends. Adam Pascal was most recently seen in the series’ My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs (2001). Chess in Concert marks Idina Menzel’s Great Performances debut.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Vivian Milstein, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS.

  • http://9012spicelandcircle.org/blog/?p=457 little woman » Blog Archive » Chess in Concert on PBS

    [...] June 4th, 2009 Chess in Concert Preview of Chess in Concert [...]

  • Natalie

    I am so excited; along with other Josh Groban fans, to see this on the 17th!

  • Rolf

    I was there, what a marvellous show. The venue alone is absolutely breathtaking. If only PBS or the BBC could broadcast it in HighDef ….

  • Devon

    I’ve had the CD recording for ages, but I’ve always wanted to see the show “staged” – thanks to PBS for finally fulfilling my wish!

  • Stan

    I have waited a long time for this truly great performance!

  • Jan Learmonth

    A wonderful concert with Josh at his finest. Was there both nights. Chess has certainly evolved a great deal deal in its 21 years.!

  • Tanya

    Brilliant concert, but why are Marti Pellow and Kerry Ellis forgotten here??? They gave absolutely stunning performances, better than Adam and Idina imho. And why can the BBC not air it on the same date? Not impressed!

  • Holly

    CANNOT WAIT! – I was there on 12th and it was the first time seeing Idina live…It was a night I will NEVER forget! And now I can remember it all! Yeeey! I call for a BBC Broadcast!!!

  • Ayrton

    It doesn’t seem to be playing on the central coast of california (KCET). I’m really bummed.

  • John Morgan

    I have waited years for this. Over the years, I have seen Chess the musical three times. But this is big because Tim Rice says that this concert represents the canon of Chess.

  • Ruth

    Looking forward to seeing this performance, and Adam Pascal in particular.

  • Harriet

    What a great cast! I especially like Adam Pascal as Freddie in this clip.

  • http://abbaofficial.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/chess-in-concert-interview/ CHESS IN CONCERT + INTERVIEW. « ABBA-OFFICIAL.COM NEWS BLOG

    [...] IN CONCERT + INTERVIEW. 9 06 2009 CHESS IN CONCERT INTERVIEW WITH [...]

  • BETTY

    THE MUSICOF CHESS IS SO INCREDIBLE AND IT’S ABOUT TIME IT IS BEING RECOGNIZED. JOSH’S SINGING IS AWESOME; HOWEVER, HE REALLY NEEDS TO TAKE SOME COURSES IN ACTING IF HE TRULY WANTS TO CONSIDER THIS AS PART OF HIS TALENT. HIS SINGING IS NATURAL,ORGANIC AND SO OUTSTANDING, BUT HIS ACTING NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED AND NEEDS ALOT OF WORK. THE ENTIRE CAST WAS INCREDIBLE; THANKS PBS FOR GIVING US THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO SEE AND HEAR CHESS.

  • Derrick Butler

    Want to know why there is no time for it playing on the west coast?

  • Catachrest

    Squee!!!!! I’ve been singing along with the record, then the tape, then the CD of this musical since I was way too small to understand the story and I can’t wait to see it. I’m in Canada and get my PBS from Boston and Seattle, but I have no idea what zip codes to enter. Can anyone tell me what times it’s on? From here I’m going to see if I can find the individual websites.

  • Beth Alfabeto

    In the West coast, it will be shown on KQED, KQED-HD & KQED-SD on 6/18 @ 8:00 PM PDT. To be safe, I would check both 6/17 and 6/18. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/schedule/

  • Judy

    I was another fortunate one that was there on the 13th. To say it was amazing is certainly an understatement.

    I’m a huuuggge Josh fan, and he was definitely the highlight for us – along with Adam. It was so exciting not only to be in such an historic theater as the Royal Albert Hall, but to enjoy the talents of everyone on that stage.

    I’m just sorry that no mention is made of Kerri Ellis in any of the promos. She was spectacular and to some of us was the best of the girls.

    It will be such a treat to see this on PBS and evetually be able to get the CD/DVD. If you can avoid it, don’t miss it!

  • http://www.ryansincredibleworld.com/chess-in-concert-dvd-cds-available-tuesday/ Ryan’s Incredible World » Blog Archive » CHESS In Concert DVD & CDs Available Tuesday

    [...] were recorded and in the United States, will be shown as part of the PBS series, “Great Performances” that will be airing this month across the United States. Additionally both a DVD of the show [...]

  • http://carrie.homeschooljournal.net/2009/06/12/links-for-friday-84/ Mommy Brain » Links for Friday

    [...] The theater major (read: geek) in me will be watching Chess in Concert on PBS this Wednesday. Starring Josh Groban and Idina [...]

  • Jenny

    I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am to see this left off the KCET Los Angeles schedule. How ridiculous that the second largest PBS market in the country won’t be airing this along with the rest of the country.

  • Gregor

    I’m in Scotland and got the DVD today! :-)
    All in all it’s really impressive, with great picture and good sound, and everyone is in for a treat! It deserves to get shown on UK BBC Television too.
    The only disappointment is that the DVD cover lists Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal AND Marti Pellow, but not Kerry Ellis, and for me Kerry’s performance is the best of them all.

  • John Liljestrand

    We are both great JOSH GROBAN fans. We would enjoy any program with him in it. I’m sure there are many fans like us that are bored with some of your musical programs!!!

  • Jeremy

    Has anyone in the US been able to purchase the DVD and if so where?

  • Robert

    The DVD will be released June 16th in the U.S.

  • Robert

    I’m in the Los Angeles area and it is not listed at all. How is that even possible that we won’t be getting it. I just went to Amazon.com and ordered it.

  • Joy

    I too am extremely disappointed with KCET and the rest of PBS who think it’s not worthy of being shown in L.A.
    And in case anyone sees the previous comment re KQED, that’s Nor Cal, not So Cal.
    Are there any petitions to get it broadcasted in LA?

  • Robert

    Los Angeles: No Broadcast = No Pledge Money!

  • sue rudge

    can only see perview as yet no date for realease in uk very sad, can’t wait to see it missed it here.

  • http://wvpt.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/great-performances-chess-in-concert/ Great Performances: CHESS IN CONCERT « WVPT’s Weblog

    [...] as well as memorable songs such as “Anthem” and “I Know Him So Well.”  Tune in  for CHESS IN CONCERT– Wednesday June 17th at 8PM. [...]

  • Jim Dickinson

    I am like a lot of you here and cannot fathom why a show with one of the greatest scores in Broadway history (imho) is not being broadcast in Los Angeles. It’s a crime! I have followed this show since 1984 when I bought the studio recording in vinyl. Why KCET would choose to not run this program is idiocy!

  • Farley Cadena

    I am chiming in with other West Coasters in my disappointment that KCET is not airing Chess!!! Why oh why!?!? This is really frustrating!

  • Tanna Wood

    I wish i could watch this i want to see it so bad but i have to work i love idina and adam

  • Christian

    I am from abroad and wondering I there’s any chance of seeing it online? I mean like a “pay-per-view” online?

  • http://www.rss.bigcheaptheater.com/?p=4708 News Room :: Monster Mash: Cirque founder sues; arts audience declining; more on OCMA art sale; new Mahler blog

    [...] –At long last: PBS to air "Chess" concert production, featuring Josh Groban and Adam Pascal on Wednesday. (See preview, find time slot here.) [...]

  • Glen Garcia

    I was lucky enough to own the original concept album in Vinyl and in ‘88 actually saw the original production in London and IT WAS AMAZING!!!! I have loved the show since I first heard it in ‘87 and was disappointed with the changes that were made to it when it went to Broadway. As a graduate in musical theater it has been a show I have wanted to do for years, (the original version!!!). I am looking forward to seeing it in concert and hope that one day it will be made into a full scale production again!!!!

  • JOANNE

    Hooray for PBS. I saw the original lots of years ago and I am really looking forward to seeing this cast. What perfect voices for these characters. I just cannot wait to see this one.

  • Krieger

    For what it’s worth to L.A. fans, I just got this reply from KCET:

    “Thank you for contacting us.

    Currently, Chess in Concert does not appear on our broadcast schedule. KCET’s programming, however, is scheduled two months in advance and it is possible that a decision to air the program will be made at a later date. Your suggestion that we air this program has been forwarded to our Broadcasting Department for review.

    Please continue to check your television listings or visit our KCET web site at http://www.kcet.org/schedule. Additionally, you may contact our Viewer Services Department at (323) 953-5238, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.”

  • Ohyes

    You can bet they will be playing this on KCET at pledgetime when they want money. I will tell them that I spent it on a DVD of Chess in Concert because they did not broadcast it with the rest of the country. How disappointing!

  • catherine eads

    Yep, KCET screwed the pooch on this one. The pedigree of this show being aired on other major PBS stations and overlooked by a major market like Los Angelesseems a bit hard to comprehend. To add further insult, the excuse that their programming schedule is decided months in advance? What? Two months ago, this DIDN’t seem like a viable program to schedule?

  • Marty Kopulsky

    I”m in Los Angeles: Where is Chess on PBS?
    I always pledge and you can’t present this?
    GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • Stephan

    I have been in love with this musical since it first came out and WISHED I could have seen it live. Saw a version of it on Broadway that was by no means on part with the London staging. I’m sooooo happy to finally be getting to see it done right!!!

  • kca1988

    Like Glen (#36) I saw the original production in London, and it was the most amazing experience in my life. People who don’t know it will like the new production and the new “white album.” I am partial to the original “black album,” but I am glad to see any version, frankly.

  • TBear

    KCTS in Seattle nor KBTC in Tacoma are airing it either. A chorus buddy contacted both stations and they said it’s in the lineup for PBS it’s not in the lineup for either of the local affiliates.

    Poo.

  • ggg

    I was so disappointed when I couldn’t find Chess at the scheduled time, but patience made me keep searching, and it is scheduled on my HD PBS at 11pm! Thank goodness for dvr so I can see it over and over!

  • Jasmine

    I can’t believe it’s not scheduled to air in LA!

  • Christi

    I’ve been a fan of Chess since I first heard Murray Head sing “One Night in Bankok”. I wasn’t sure if anyone could live up to his spectacular performance. I remember seeing Jesus Christ Superstar-the Movie and was very disappointed in Carl Anderson’s performance. Chess though, was fantastic! I was very surprised. I love it!

  • Kevin Ramkissoon

    So disappointed that KCTS in Seattle is not airing Chess in Concert. No pledge money from me. Angry words instead. Big blunder KCTS!!!!

  • Kim

    Is anyone else having trouble hearing the music during some parts? Like someone turned down their mikes then eventually remembers and turns them back up? Otherwise I’m enjoying it.

  • Kathryn

    I’d like to see a full cast list on the site. Some of the other singers were great, too, and I’d like to know who they are. Thanks.

  • John Esche

    CHESS is one of those great scores that I suspect everyone’s first exposure to will remain their favorite. For me that was the Broadway version (by far the best book), although I have enjoyed the Off-Broadway and Touring editions too as well as the Original London production on (bootleg) tape. The Great Performances broadcast was indeed beautifully done, but an unavoidable disappointment for draining both the politics and the believable personal relationships from the concert script; making Freddy less of a personal jerk and more of a broad anti-capitalist symbol with his justifying back-story introduced far too late to be meaningful. Who cares about “Merano”; where the heck were the wife, the faux father, the double dealing CIA and KGB in this bizarrely scrambled CHESS?!? All seem tossed in this time almost as an afterthought because we already know their music – in this version the beautiful “Terrace Duet”, transplanted to late in the second act makes no sense. Without these characters’ better established presence the show has no core and the characters no motivation. As enjoyable as Menzel, Groban and the surprisingly bland Adam Pascal were, the score was simply better sung at the Imperial on Broadway and the resulting RCA cast album (even with the inexcusable omission of Florence’s final, in THAT version plot essential, reprise of “Anthem!”).

  • PEPE

    To the Los Angeles area program directors who declined to air CHESS In Concert- YOU SUCK!!!

  • Julie

    Absolutely wonderful…

  • Judith Lipson

    This was an exciting performance featuring these wonderful voices.Great job to Pascal,Menzel& Josh Groban.Thank You PBS.How do I order the cd & or the DVD

  • Tere

    I remember the song “One Night in Bankok” very well but I knew very little of what the play was about. I am thrilled to be watching this and the performances are fantastic!! Josh may have no acting experience but I find him very good. We learn by doing. For those missing the program, look for a repeat next wed. sometime.

  • songbird

    Look here for a cast list … http://www.chessinconcert.com/castlist.html

    The broadcast tonight was INCREDIBLE!

  • samantha

    this was amazing three of my favorite musical singers and wonderful music…i didn’t catch the number to call or address to write to to get the dvd if anyone knows how to get a hold of this dvd please let me know…this is one to watch over and over.

  • Robin Jones

    Caught this performance completely by accident and was completely wowed….must have the dvd or soundtrack asap!!!

  • Eileen

    Wow! I knew and loved the music, but had never seen it staged…until tonight, with two of my favorites, Groban and Menzel, no less. Who played the Russian wife? She is so familiar but I can’t find any listing with her name. Credits went by too fast. Thanks PBS, keep the musicals coming.

  • Valerie Dunne

    Finally! I was able to share the show that I saw in London 23 years ago! I’ve raised an entire family committing this musical to memory and loving it from only a CD. It was unavoidable that I would hear the original in my head but still I was envious of those on stage. Tonights performance was executed for the new viewers, and it was excellent. Art should always change and be executed to the current artists delight. Thank you for the wonderful event and for your brilliant voices! Thank you!!!!

  • magali

    I actually never heard of “chess” but form the ABBA leaders, and Josh Groban as a singer, i am a fan alreay and will buy the DVD. thank you for those great evenings. MC

  • Bob Parks

    Did anyone write down the address for ordering the DVD? Please post, otherwise I’ll have to catch the end of the next rebroadcast.

  • David Berger

    I’d never seen the show. Great performance! I’ve owned the vocal score for over 20 years and have taught students several of the songs; I’ve sung Anthem myself. Loved putting the story line into the music. I’m looking everywhere online and can’t find the cast list except for Groban. Can anyone help?

  • Fran

    Loved it. How can I purchase the video?

  • Jugnu Garfield

    Samantha, you can get the DVD at Barnes and Noble…

  • Carol

    I would like to see a full cast list also.

  • Diane R

    Thank you PBS for a stunning and memorable performance by so many talented people. I will enjoy this for a long time on DVD.

  • Bob Parks

    Here is the active cast: Josh Groban, Adam Pascal) and the woman they both love (Idina Menzel).

  • Joe

    This is good show with GREAT music. I am glad PBS showed it. Josh did a great job. I was in a local production of this show 12 years ago so it really brought back memories.

  • Chris

    Holy crap, I’ve wanted to see this since 1985. Seems every time it’s played in my part of the world I found out about it after it closed. Must say I’m happy as —- to happen to turn on the TV tonight and see it playing. I may almost need to actually donate to PBS now.

  • Jugnu Garfield

    I wish I could see a LIVE performance!…any chance, any time?…

  • Kathy

    What a wonderful show!! There was an 800 number to call for a copy of this show. May I have that number? Thank you for your help.

  • Beverly Eakman

    This was a tour de force. Every singer, every dancer, every performer was superlative. How did anyone ever manage to conceive a musical like this?

  • Eileen Dolan

    Good show, great voices, really enjoyed the staging… I agree the Kerri Ellis had the more completely well rounded voice with better filled out lower registers etc. etc, however I also agree with commenter #51 that the original cast recording was better. I found the tempo on “One Night in Bangkok” much too slow – it took away all the punch and sass of that song. I also didn’t really enjoy the continual stretching and (loud) soaring of the “can belto” parts in the solos – Not enough finesse (from all, including the conductor and orchestra) and just a little too indulgent for me…

  • Dennis Rose

    I’ve not heard of “Chess” before this evening. An absolutely outstanding musical. With Benny & Bjorn (ABBA) doing the music, I see why it is so great. I just could not leave the TV during the entire presentation! Idina Menzel & Kerry Ellis….so outstanding.

  • Joan Lannon

    What an awesome performance by everyone. I had never heard of “Chess” either and just stumbled on to it this evening. I now want to see it again and order the CD so I can keep listening to this excellent music. I love Josh Groban, but I equally loved the other performers. Thank you PBS for showing it in our area.

  • Hugh Dwelley

    Enjoyed CHESS very much. How much of it was based on historical fact? Was one of the chess champions Alexander Karpov. If not, who?

  • Jugnu Garfield

    Ah, Kerri Ellis…that was the name I didn’t know…loved her voice!…

  • Valerie Dunne

    This is the producer of the show/DVD and tonights performance. http://www.shopthirteen.org/ This is where you can buy it for 19.95 (US)

  • Christopher

    I just finished watching this performance and what a WONDERFUL job PBS did of capturing this! It was simply amazing!

  • Rita Weber

    I wasn’t familiar with this production but I’m so glad I tuned in tonight. It’s definitely one of the BEST musicals I’ve seen. I loved the story and the incredible music! Kerry Ellis gives an outstanding performance along with Josh Groban, Adam Pascal, and Idina Menzel. Bravo to the entire cast!

  • Helen Smith

    Josh Groban is my very favorite. Great talent and performances by all. What an outstanding remake. Great staging. Very creative. Thank you PBS for these wonderful programs! Please put on more of them for us music lovers.

  • Stuart

    Well, Chess is a work that stays with you even if you first saw/heard it on Broadway. Tonight’s presentation kind of reminded me of “Les Mis.”
    Overall, I was thrilled by tonights performance on PBS. In my view, there are performars who have both, a great voice and are great singers. Clearly Groban has both. He is a 10 singer and a 10 voice. While we can’t expect all wonderful performers to be 10’s at both, we are treated to mostly 10 singers, but not in voice. A prime example is Menzel who has wonderful presence but by no means is a 10 voice. She is a 10 for her singing.
    What do I mean? Take Colm Wilkinson, who has a 10 voice. He thrills with his voice, it’s unmistakable. One knows it’s him. The same for Groban. The best examples of great voices are not mistakable. If you turned on the radio and Menzel was singing, would you know it was her? Probably not. Yet, if you heard Streisand (not my favorite) but a great voice none the less. There are very few great voices but many great or 10 singers. One great example to clear the point is Bob Dylan. One could debate that he may not be a great singer but we sure know that it’s him when we hear him. A 10 voice.
    I first saw Chess in the early ’80’s and was thrilled with it then. I loved tonights “version” Some may find it easy to criticize, but most that see, (and I hope the West Coast shows Chess), this production will be absolutely thrilled. The audience in London could not contain themselves, as they were thrilled both with the performance and very clearly observed the characters and plot changes moving around just like Chess pieces. Excellent.

  • santos dela-cruz

    my wife and i just watched the performance of chess with Josh Groban. where can we purchase the DVD we live in Helena Mt.
    thank you

  • carol

    Fabulous performances. Loved it so much. Surfed the website to purchase DVD without success. Number went by too fast. Previous note above says it will be released the 16th so should be available. Disappointed in the website as this should be a slamdunk and easy way to boost their income. Here are 2 that want to order it and cant.

  • Tova

    I just finished watching. What can I say other that it was fantastic. So nice to know it can be purchased.

  • Robert Shuster

    Chess – the best musical I never saw (live). I caught the last half hour and was wowed (again). Will it be re-broadcast?

  • Robert

    I didn’t know anything about the show; I watched it to see Josh Groban. Josh was wonderful, but Adam Pascal stole the show. Marvelous performances by all and a great suite of music. I am definitely going to buy the DVD.

  • ross

    To be honest, i liked the orginal soundtrack with Murray Head and Elaine Paige better, but I am very happy that Chess has made a come back.

  • Vic

    The censorship of Chess was ridiculous! To bastardize two magnificent pieces by gouging out the words “d*ck” and “sh*t” (there, I said) was puerile and an insult to the audience. Disgraceful!

  • carl

    My wife and I went to the original London production twice (1986 and 1987). This production was at least as good.

    The phone # for the DVD was 1-800-336-1917, but the pbs.org page doesn’t have the DVD listed. If you follow the link to http://www.shopthirteen.org/product/show/55942
    they have a note that the DVD will be available on 7/14/2009 (Bastille Day!)

  • Alison Lewis

    Why is Chess airing on PBS stations in New York and Austin, but not in Los Angeles??

  • Alison Lewis

    Will this program air in Los Angeles? If so, on which station and When??

  • Rhon

    This was wonderful! I wanted to purchase, I find this website very difficult to locate this on DVD to purchse.It took a long time to locate this page. Help.

  • Bob

    I was also disappointed that KCET (Los Angeles) was not airing this. The DVD is availble on Amazon.com for $14.99. I ordered it yesterday.

  • Darbi

    A DVD is available for $19.99 through WNET 13 at http://www.shopthirteen.org/product/show/55942.

  • Cindi

    On the East Coast (Ohio more specifically), it’s on WVIZ Saturday, 6/20, at 9:30PM.

  • Jen

    Great concert and Josh Groban was brilliant! Brought back wonderful memories and fun with a modern twist.

    But who cast Idina? Idina was dreadful. In London, Elaine Paige brought down the house, after every song a standing ovation. I’m sure the focus here was on Josh, but he should have had someone who could balance him better and handle the music.

  • Jan Mountjoy

    The production of chess was fantastic! We enjoyed the performance of Josh Groban and all the other cast, the dancing, staging, color and graphics so very much.

    Our only disappointment was missing an important segment of the story when the emergency test notice came on ten minutes before the hour and blotted out the sound track for about two minutes with its interminable slow announcement. Can’t they time this on the hour or during a station break?

    Many thanks for making this wonderful program available.
    Jan and Bob

  • Deb

    Loved it! the stately Josh – the powerful Idina (yes I would recognise her voice) the blending of all the voices and production were spell binding
    Thank you

  • Randy

    Awesome concert! Wonderful music, beautiful staging. SPECTACULAR! Mahalo for broadcasting an incredible production.

  • Paula C.

    Saw this last night and yes this was a great performance. I’ve had the cassette then later the cd (from Europe) to listen to since the ’80s. Never seen it live, and thought they did a great rendition. Powerful and great play of the action to the songs. And the setting, Albert Hall. To win, yet gain what? Hats off to PBS to bring this to the forefront with such dramatic singers. And Pascal did great as the American, and Grogan as the Russian who just wants to play the game.

  • Edward S. Seeley Jr.

    Great show. The most fully realized version of a major contemporary opera. Too bad there were no ENGLISH SUBTITLES so viewers could catch the lyrics (this should be standard practice -as it is in Met Opera telecasts and DVDs, even with English operas like DOCTOR ATOMIC). The open-wound anguish of Tim Rice’s poetry is so eloquent and memorable when you can catch the words. Note that both the DVD and CD (full version as well as “highlights”) are available from Barnes & Nobel Online.

  • Alex Feldman

    Most unfortunately, I neglected to record the Great Performance show, Chess In Concert with Josh Groban at 8PM on Wednesday, June 17. Will that show be repeated at a later date?…thank you<

  • test

    In response to #78, there was a world champion named *Anatoly* Karpov (mentioned as part of the list of champions). The characters aren’t based on real chess players, but it’s been suggested that their personalities are based on Bobby Fischer and Viktor Korchnoi.

    Great performance!

  • Joseph P’Connell

    This was a much better version than what they brought to Broadway in 1988. It returns to a coherent story like the original production. It’s a bit difficult comparing Idina and Elaine Page (of course I love Elaines voice in this role) nobody can sing Nobody’s on Nobody’s Side better than she. If you have never heard her it’s on You Tube. Still I think that cast was excellent.

  • Alan Saperstein

    Please send me the telephone number so I can order the DVD of Chess in Concert.

  • j. pastwik

    This was one of the best shows I’ve seen in an opera format, great, just great!!

  • Rik Ludel

    LAST NIGHTS SHOW WAS INCREDIBLE!
    I’ve had the cassette version since 1984. CHESS was the first CD I bought. I lived in England the summer of 1986 and saw the original cast, twice. I even got to work out and dance with some of the dancers of the cast at a rehearsal studio where I was teaching aerobics back then. The original London staging was BRILLIANT! I wish there was a DVD copy of the origninal. But with all that being said, last nights “CHESS in Concert” was a great throw back to 23years ago when I first experienced CHESS and the great Elaine Paige, along with Tommy Korberg, Murray Head and that amazing stage that spun, tilted, lit up for Mountain Duet…shall I go on!

    WPBA-30 in Atlanta will be airing it Sunday afternoon, June 28th at NOON! I’ll be glued to my couch for another two and a half hours that afternoon…what an awesome Great Performances…
    Now if you guys could do WICKED!!!
    Cheers, Rik

  • Rik Ludel

    AND…who is the blonde that plays SVETLANA? She has an amazing voice. If anyone knows please, please post her name and what other shows she has done. For me, in the short amount of time on stage she took the show to higher heights. She blew us away.

  • Deirdre Ruffino

    My husband and I saw this last night. It was absolutely stunning, all the performances perfect. Josh Groban should keep doing challenging music like this–it shows off his true talents. But they all shone–fantastic music, very hard to sing, and original lyrics. The solo by Pascal is a showcase. Thank you for airing this. Will look for the DVD.

  • joy

    Kerry Ellis played Svetlana. She is coming to Broadway to play Elpheba in WICKED (a role she played in London)

  • joy

    KCET/Los Angeles!!! PLEASE PLEASE see how much pledge money you LOST LOST LOST by not airing the broadcast.

  • joy

    KCET/Los Angeles!!! See how much pledge money you LOST LOST LOST by not airing the broadcast.

  • Liza Rivamonte-Jauculan

    I want to thank everybody of “Chess in Concert” from the casts, staffs, technicians, dancers, director and the creator for giving us a spectacular show not just to entertain but to tell a story. Production was great and all main performers made every moment a captivated one and gave their best. Wow… watching it last night was one of the best time of my life. It was more than worth watching for.Totally amazing.

  • maggie gray

    Wonderful show , i am going to buy the dvd josh groban is great ,

  • Connie Hubbard

    BRAVO!! BRAVO!!!!! A Spectacular Performance by ALL!! A Wonderful, Awesome Cast… And, Most Enjoyable Great Performance. It kept me Spellbound & Entertained.
    Josh Groban was, as always, Fabulous!!!!Beautiful Voice and Future Broadway Star…..Bravo Josh!!!
    THANKS for this Wonderful “Chess in Concert” Production. I so enjoyed it…. “Connie H.”

  • Lorraine Reeves

    caught the concert by accident. of course anything with Josh Groban in it is worth watching I adore his music. was quite surprised by his acting, I thought he did well. quite impressed with the program!where can I purchase the DVD?

  • Scott Carpenter

    I live in Cape Coral, Florida. I watched Chess in Concert. I loved it, but the volume was very soft. I had to crank up the volume a great deal just to hear the broadcast. Was this the case for everyone? Is the DVD that soft too? I recorded a repeat broadcast last night and that was also very soft. The program just before it was normal volume. I would love to enjoy this with better sound quality. Thanks!

  • J Simoudis

    I watched this performance with a lot of trepidation, having been an avid Chess fan since the 80s. It’s a shame this show was butchered on Broadway and not many people got to know the wonderful score and innovative lyrics.

    I am not a Josh Groban fan – I find his voice too full of vibrato for my taste. He was pretty good in this one and his acting – leaden and inflexible on stage – suited his character this time around.

    This performance was great in places yet uneven in others, maybe because the orchestra clearly overtook the pop instrumentation in many places – especially in One Night in Bangkok with its avant garde – for the time – hip hop and rap influences.

    Idina Minzel seemed struggling at times with the vocal range demanded from her part, coupled with the acrobatics of the lyrics. The standout was Kerry Ellis who has a voice like a bell and, in my opinion, upstaged the rest of the cast.

    It was a performance that was well-worth the viewing and the 2 1/2 hour investment of time. An amazing rock opera Chess is, that will have any new listener hooked to its melodies.

    Thanks for bringing it.

  • Lauren

    Kerry Ellis’ voice is fantastic. The best actress i’ve ever seen on stage. I saw her in Wicked 3 times in the West End. Chess in Concert is the first time Kerry Ellis and Idina Menzel have been seen on stage together. Idina Menzel was the Original Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked and Kerry Ellis was her Stand By. I live in the UK and the DVD is really expensive it’s £17.99 ($30ish) i hope it will be shown on TV here but it’s not that likely.

  • esteban

    I just called KCET. The show will be broadcast July 11th at 9PM. They’ve received quite a few complaints for not having scheduled it.

  • Marian Lipton

    I miss the first hour. It is one of my favorite musicals. Does anyone know when it will be aired again?

  • Michele

    Not knowing the story behind “Chess” and only knowing a few of the songs, I found myself crying at the end after watching last night! What a wonderful score and story. Loved it!

  • G

    I saw both the original musical and this concert. I enjoyed this even more than the stage production! Not being distracted by what was going on on stage allowed me to focus on and hear all the lyrics and really know the entire story of what Chess is about. TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hal Liske

    Menzel… OMG.. Stole it.. Josh et all bravo..

  • rick

    loved it. absolutely loved it. this is sure to be the new pledge week spectacular. i am sure that the le miz tape has worn out by now. this is a worthy replacement. you haven’t lived until you have heard it in swedish.

  • Ted

    Where is the Blu-ray HD release??? I cannot fathom why this wouldn’t be available in high definition.

  • Rolf

    Yep, I’m missing the HD release as well. Especially since the RAH is such a beautiful venue. We can only hope someone captures one of the HD broadcasts, but I would buy the BluRay instantly.

  • Tim

    Like many, I was enticed by this funny little song(Bangkok)that hit the pop charts in 1984, to buy the tape. What I found was one of the most beautiful and emotional scores ever written. Last night I serendipitously stumbled upon the show, and again was overwhelmed by the power, beauty, and craft of each song sung by contemporary favorites. In youth, the musical explained that angst and confusion are a part of our humanness. In my 40’s it’s and old friend who says “we’ve been there buddy” Thank you Great Performances, thank you.

  • Marie

    My first love introduced me to Chess in 1988. Was flipping chanels, last night and found Josh Groban (love him) singing a familiar song. Didn’t realize it was Chess. What wonderful memories it brought back. Stayed up till 4am! Worth going in late to work. Thank you Great Performances. Thank you PBS. Thank you David.

  • Shawntaye

    I pre ordered this DVD. I had never heard of the musical before, but once I saw the cast I just knew it was going to be excellent. I watched the Concert the day I got the DVD and I was blown away by everyone’s performance. It completely exceeded my expectations. Wonderful performance. I will watch it over and over again.

  • Lisa

    I too was flipping chanels and found Josh Groban (he is awesome) started watching and fell in love with the production. This is a must see program. My husband even liked it! It was great in HD with surround sound stereo!

  • Ralph

    I am no big fan of musicals, and to be honest, I didn’t even know anyone in the cast. But I have cherished the original Chess recording ever since I stumbled upon on it as a teenager in the ’80’s in Germany. What beautiful music. After moving to New York, I have been waiting for a revival of Chess on Broadway in vain for years. This concert performance exceeded all my expectations. Josh Groban was absolutely spectacular. Everybody else was very good, even though Idina Menzel annoingly kept singing half a beat ahead of the orchestra throughout – doesn’t matter – now I almost don’t want to see it fully staged again, because it will be hard to beat this performance.

  • Carol

    LOVED IT!!! I’ve been a fan of this musical for a few years now and this production was fantastic!!!! Thank so much PBS for bringing this wonderful production and w/o commercial interruption!!! I really loved everything about it, except the casting of Idina Menzel. I know she’s a star of the stage and all, but I wished Kerry Ellis was cast as Florence. Idina’s acting was mediocre at best and her voice was not up to par. I mean, “Nobody’s Side” is supposed to be powerful and in her ‘hands’ it just fell flat. Everybody else was great, esepecially Josh Groban who was SUPERB!!!!

  • Joy Berry

    is the Great Performances show (CHESS) that aire in SF Thurs. 6/18 going to repeat.. love t see it again.. missed the beginning… thanx

  • sudabeh

    I did not know such show existed till I saw it on Kera, because there is not much to watch with excitement in other chnnels, then I could not keep my eyes off them, I laughed , cried ,and went through all sorts of wonders . I loved the voices , the dancers , the musicians. At the end I was in love with all of them ,even the bad ones!
    I feel like i want to hear them again and they are in my heart forever. sudabeh

  • Richard

    Does anyone know if there will be a repeat broadcast in Buffalo

  • Lydia

    Kind of a late comment, but you can get the dvd with cd and some extras off Josh Grobans official website. Just google Josh Groban and you’ll find the website. Loved the show! Just got around to watching it having tivo’d it earlier. Some amazing performances and voices!

  • Yus

    Great show! And, by the way, whoever said there were no subtitles, they WERE available in CC.
    Idina Menzel’s voice was a bit on a thin side but she’s more than compensated any vocal shortcomings with emotional intensity she brought to the role, she was on the verge of tears herself at one point. Bravo!
    But incomparable Judy Kuhn who originated Florence part on Broadway is still a gold standard for me.
    I thought Groban and Pascal were in fine voice, I also liked David Bedalla (sp?) who played Molokov.
    I hope Chess will be revived either in London or New York, but the book is too flawed…

  • Vic

    Deleting my earlier post still doesn’t change the fact that you bleeped at least three numbers during the performance. Not only are you censoring Chess, you’re censoring posts about the censorship as well? How sad.

  • Miltie

    Yo haters,

    Artistic preferences are personal and cannot be criticized because they are a matter of taste. However, comments about Idina Menzel like:

    Voice was a bit on a thin side
    Annoyingly kept singing half a beat ahead of the orchestra throughout
    Seemed struggling at times with the vocal range demanded from her part, coupled with the acrobatics of the lyrics

    demonstrate a lack of knowledge of basic music theory.

    And although it was filmed for TV, this was first and foremost a live concert. As such needed to reach people in the top row of the balcony, which requires loud soaring “Can Belto” technique and does not allow for finesse.

  • Yus

    “However, comments about Idina Menzel like:
    Voice was a bit on a thin side
    Annoyingly kept singing half a beat ahead of the orchestra throughout
    Seemed struggling at times with the vocal range demanded from her part, coupled with the acrobatics of the lyrics
    demonstrate a lack of knowledge of basic music theory.”

    No, it just demonstrates your so- called “knowledge”. “Basic music theory” has nothing to do with vocal skills, and you should not patronize others, especially in such an ignorant and laughable manner.

  • John Sposato

    This happened to come on when I was looking through my DTV channels. Never thought I’d see it filmed or televised.
    Glad it’s in rotation like a video on old MTV so I can programme my DVR. ABBA should be a tag. The ladies will fawn over Josh Groban. It can be a bit offsetting for the rest of us having someone too well known in the show, when we’re used to lesser-known actors and actresses. Sure, there’s Elaine Paige in the original cast, but I don’t follow much other theatre (’Mamma Mia!’ may also lead people to ‘Chess’).
    Looks like we have some wannabe Frank Rich’s here! (Remember him?!) Everyone’s a critic!
    I have this and four other versions of the show. I have the concept album on Swedish import tapes (I also found Canadian ones, but I gave those to someone who plays real chess), the slated Broadway cast, the audio of this TV version, a Danish version in English, and I think another one. I also have some demos.
    I have to admit, when I saw the Broadway version Upstate in my hometown, the end was a bit kitchen-sink for my liking to put it lightly. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. I also miss the stronger short guitar solo in the original UK #1 of “I Know Him So Well”. Contractually, only the 1988 format is allowed to be staged in the States.
    ‘Kristina från Devemåla’ would also work on public TV here, and not just Minnesota.

  • Alan

    I was amazed they actually showed this on PBS…VERY pleased with it. I have listened to Chess on CD and Cassette Tape for YEARS and never saw the show at all (but read about both versions of it) This version (aside from it being a CONCERT staging with no real props, scenery) i thought it was fun and fabulous! I had imagined where in the storyline some of the songs would go, but they were there in some spots and moved in others…(for instance, i dont remember hearing Florence’s “Anthem” at the very end on my CD) but it was great fun to hear a show I had never seen before on stage (NOBODY seems to DO Chess at any level…not University or local Community theatres!) ah well, at least I have THIS DVD now!! I wish PBS would do MORE shows like this (or in any way) so that I can see them and then want to DO them locally, myself! (I would LOVE to play the American or the Russian…or heck, even Molokov or the Arbiter.

  • Gail

    I had the privilege of seeing Chess in London in 1986. I found it totally enthralling, largely because of the political statement it made about East-West relations. There are many layers of meaning. The production was among the most elaborate stage presentation I’ve ever seen. I saw Les Miserables on the same trip, which was equally complex in its staging. The concert version seems very true to the stage production as I remember it. Because the libretto is so well written, it loses little with the absence of the revolving stage and other scenery. The story is told in the lyrics. When the Berlin Wall came down and the USSR broke up, I assumed this musical lost its relevance, though the intrigue in political relations continues apace; only the participants change. Lives are still touched, relationships complicated with the opening and closing of borders and the turmoil which seems to be insoluble. I was thrilled that someone saw enough value in the musical to produce this version and introduce it to an audience who may be unfamiliar. I prefer thought-provoking art and this musical provides both entertainment and plenty of food for thought. When I close my eyes, the timbre of the stars’ voices transport me back to the London theater. They had to be chosen as much for their similarity to the original cast as their contemporary achievements and fame. I’m thrilled that others appreciate this artistic achievement as I have over the intervening decades. I didn’t think I’d ever hear it sung again.

  • Bill

    Kudos to PBS for bringing this fantastic production to us in HD, but a bit of a raspberry for the audio – it was quite low in volume and lacking in impact as compared to the audio on the DVD, so it wasn’t the original source.

    Oh, and a big “boo” to WB/Reprise for not offering this concert for sale on Blu-Ray given the stunning HD presentation. :(

    I’m only glad that Rice went back to the original concept album and decided to pretend (along with most fans) that the disastrous Broadway version didn’t really exist. :-)

  • Christine G.

    Am waiting to see when this will be broadcast in CT on CPTV. Having seen two performances with the late David-James Carroll in both the full Broadway production that garnered him a Tony nomination for Lead Actor in a Musical, and the concert performance at Carnegie Hall, I am anxious to see this. I love Josh Groban, but he’ll have to really blow me away to take David’s place as Anatoly. I tear up when I just think of hearing his singing. I wish I had taken David’s advice to pursue a career on stage, but too many of life’s other happenings took the limelight. I still hope to be discovered someday when performing in my local community theater group. Who knows?

  • David Bebeau

    I love PBS for giving us this fablous show.My very favorite story and such a perfect ending.
    Thank you so very much PBS for sharing.Absolutely
    fantastic.
    David

  • Lisa D.

    Thank you PBS for showing this amazing show! The entire cast was brilliant! Idina Menzel completely stole the show and was the shining star on that stage! Not only were her vocal talents breathtaking, but I felt she truly was Florence…I have to say…I bought the DVD and I find myself fastforwarding to her parts. Adam Pascal was charismatic and played the perfect Freddie. Somebody needs to cast these 2 together again on Broadway! Josh did a great job in his acting debut, and I can totally see him on Broadway if he ever chooses. PBS…this kind of show…with this level of talent is exactly why I donate. I beg you to have more of Idina Menzel!

  • Alyssa

    Idina Menzel was GREAT!!!! Adam Pasqual has one of the best voices in musical theater, and Josh Groban was terrific.
    I must say I’m not fond of the show itself. I saw it on Broadway (in the cheap seats) and, despite the wonderful cast, it was a nearly-indescernable mess, at least the night I saw it. Tonight, unfortunately, I had a similar experience; the sound on our PBS station was on the fritz, so it was hard to hear!
    Bummer.
    (BTW, Lisa D., Idina and Adam were together on Broadway in the original cast of “Rent!”)

  • Angela Carder

    Loved it, loved it, loved it; saw it by accident flipping stations; please, will/when it be re-broadcast?

  • Don

    I love all of the Great Performances … is this one going to be rebroadcast or available for purchase?

  • Jan

    I just heard about the Chess In Concert – Thirteen. Will PBS be carrying it again and if so, when? Thank you so much!

  • Roma Sena

    I was enthralled in enjoying watching Great Performances “Chess in Concert”, but I could not keep watching after 11:00 at night on a Sunday (I had get up for work around 4:00 AM Monday!!!).
    I cannot find anything on PBS/Great Performance website that shows that there will be a re-run of this musical. Any ideas for a re-run? Maybe on any Friday night or Saturday? WOW what a great production!! I would love to see the entire concert.

  • http://honey-vanity.net/blog/?p=251 Honey Vanity » one night in bangkok

    [...] PBS aired the concert of CHESS that was filmed last year. Did you know I own the original London vinyl recording but never have [...]

  • kristen

    i missed it! so disappointed! anyone know when they’ll show it again?

  • Yus

    Recordings of the special hit several Billboard Charts this week (07-04-2009):

    Chess In Concert CD

    Billboard 200 – #100
    Billboard Comprehensive Albums – #108
    Billboard Top Cast Albums – #1 (!!!)
    Billboard Top Internet Albums – #18

    Chess in Concert DVD

    Billboard Top Music Video – #4

    Chess In Concert Highlights CD

    Billboard Top Cast Albums – #6

  • Susan

    I LOVE Chess! I’ve been listening to it literally since I was born, and now I’m 20. I’m so disappointed in Tim Rice, the lyricist, for rewriting some of his great lyrics. The original is always better.

  • Daniel Cole

    Where can I buy this? The changes were interesting as I have seen the original staged (though not nearly by actors of the same quality), not sure how I feel about the changes yet will have to think on it. Guess I have to tape it as I can’t seem to find anywhere to buy it…

  • Nancy Wyatt

    I missed it, too! Please notify us if it will be shown again!

  • Richard Emmons

    Please notify me when this will be shown again!

  • Bobbie and David Ehrenpreis

    Please let me know when it will be playing again! Only saw part of it! What a cast!

  • Preston Hall

    Fantastic show. I was only able to catch part of the last broadcast on

    Fantastic show! I was only able to catch part of the broadcast on

    Fantastic show! How could it not be with Tim Rice and Josh Grobin involved. I am eager to buy the DVD of the Concert but the phone number I need in order to buy it flashed by too fast. PLEASE send me the phone number.

  • Yus

    “PLEASE send me the phone number.”
    Why not just purchase CD/DVD at the store – online or regular? It’s in general release…

  • Ken

    When a friend in NYC emailed me to tell me Chess was going to be on PBS in concert, my wife and I were THRILLED! The best music of any score in decades!!! The Broadway cast recording of Chess is by far the most played CD in our collection. Thus, I guess I am prejudiced. I saw a small local production of the Broadway version a year or two ago here in SW Florida. It was terrific. This new version of the “plot” is somewhat of a mess. Anatoly and Freddie need to remain rivals throughout the show. Who was the nobody playing Anatoly at the end? Svetlana sings about “going” but her husband’s already left her and where is she going??? Making the network the enemy was ridiculous…keep it simple – player versus player, country versus country. Idina Menzel – all wrong for the part, with a shrieking voice that had no subtlety or warmth at all (and, I usually like her!). Would have been great to have the person who sang Svetlana,sing Florence…great voice. Josh Groban has the perfect voice for the part and his “Anthem” rightfully brought the house down…but then, the song always does. Unfortunately, he can’t act (I like him, too, we have his CDs and go to his concerts…hope he adds “Anthem” to them). The chorus was great. “Merano” returned to the score (nice song) but seemed to go on forever. Why change lyrics, Tim? The “Terrace Duet” had lyric changes that just were not necessary, for example. This wasn’t the only lyric change, and songs were even redistributed to different characters. It felt almost sacreligious to me, but I erased the show from my DVR and have retreated back to the Broadway recording…which we listened to again today!

  • CC

    Josh Groban cannot act to save his life. His voice is fine though. Idina is a great actress but this is not the role for her. I Don’t Know how to Love Him was so-so. I wonder why Idina was so nasal and her vocal production was so spread out. Marti Pellow was so-so but the Arbiter needs a bigger voice than that. Thank you PBS for bringing this to my TV but I like the Swedish and Danish versions much, much more. I don’t understand why Josh Groban has such a big following.

  • Allie Boom

    I loved this. (I’m 14, so I’m the wierd one who walks around quoting and singing stuff from musicals.) I watched it multiple times after recording it and I aboslutely love it. It has two of my favorite actors (Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal(saw him live in RENT!), and it’s made me a fan of Josh Groban. When they were doing the scene where Freddie is interviewing Anatoly and showing footage of Svetlana, I really noticed the differences between the two men’s voices. Adam has a very rough, unstoppable, fiery, rock and roll voice. Josh’s is very operatic and smooth in a heart melting kind of way. Bit of a juxtaposition there. Adam was good with portraying a jealous, egotistcal, bastard. Idina was amazing (as always!), in my opinion. I feel she poured a lot of passion and sass into Florence’s character. I’ve been saving up my money to download this, although I already got Nobody’s Side and One Night in Bangkok. Need to get The Antherm! Chill inducing!

  • Allie Boom

    Oops. It’s Anthem. My bad.

  • Steve Pearson

    Can somone please tell me why the british people are being denied what i’m sure is a great performance of Chess untill a later date. After all it was filmed in our country, Yet we have to wait to see it on our screens. Surely we’ve waited just as long as everyone else. Not impressed

  • Essde

    I remember hearing a song from the play “Chess” in the 80’s that stuck with me and I made a mental note to see the production when it came to Atlanta. Well, I never saw the play, but I remembered the name, and I love Groban, Pascal, and Menzel and I’ve seen them onstage; so when I read a big article in my Sunday paper announcing their coming together to do a revival of “Chess” on PBS I just about shrieked in surprise, with no idea of what I was in for. Well, I watched the telecast in its entirety all four times it aired in Atlanta, and will be ordering the CD/DVD. I have no previous production to compare this one to (don’t know whether that’s a plus or not), but I will say Pascal’s solo (about his childhood) brought me to tears and it seems the audience agreed, and the intricately arranged ‘partner’ song (I’ll soon learn their correct titles when I receive the CD so forgive me…)was just rock-enough that I walk around the house unaware that I’m humming it. Ellis and Groban’s voices were superb, hers as smooth as a pearl, and his ovation in the first act was so well deserved. I could go on and on about the principals. I didn’t catch Chess in the 80’s, but I’ve caught it now, and I’m hanging on. Thank you, PBS.

  • Larry

    Aired in LA tonight. Brilliant and dazzling. Great work all around.

  • Claudia Katz

    Just watched Chess the Concert on KCET. Josh Groban was fantastic. I understood every word that he sang. As for the others, their voices were great but I did not understand the lyrics. All in all it was a very good production.

  • Vicki

    I watched this just to see Josh Groban perform. He was brilliant as always. Such a magnificient voice. Thank you PBB for airing this program. More Josh please!!!

  • nana2

    Casting was perfect for this 2008 production of CHESS. Acting was right on point – at varying times I felt either sympathy or disapproval for each of the main characters. Choreography and dancers, lighting, choral and instrumental were all superb. I hope CHESS returns to the USA stage…my husband and I will go anywhere on the east coast just to see this terrific production again. Thank you PBS-GP.

  • Richard

    Caught the Los Angeles PBS broadcast Saturday night (July 11, 2009). Idina was passable but doesn’t hold a candle to Judy Kuhn or Elaine Page (BEST). Pascal was strong but didn’t have much to sing. Groban did a particularly good job on Anthem to end the first act.
    So far so good…
    Then the Second Act quickly went into ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK and I about THREW UP! What a mess! A high school group could have done a better job of the signature song! Wow, someone should be SHOT!
    We had to turn it off – What a disappointment !!!

  • Kris

    I simply loved “Chess in Concert” and can’t get it out of my head…even with the many changes from the original, it still was fabulous !

  • Frank

    There were dating errors in this production, mostly about Bangkok. In the overhead video display, the skyline they show is DEFINITELY NOT from 1980’s. They even screwed up with the hotels: the Intercontinental Hotel they show was built in the late 90’s, and Four Seasons didn’t have their eponymous named hotel until the mid 2000’s. (It was known as The Regent Bangkok.)Why set a piece in the early 80’s and then show us visuals that couldn’t have taken place back then?
    Also, they kept on Florence’s father being missing for 30 years – but with the Budapest Uprising in 1956, that would place the musical in 1986 (as when the original production took place), not 1980.

  • Riley

    What is so wrong with elements of the American version that are ignored in this retool. I LOVE the plot between Florence and her possible father – the Hungarian Lullaby is so gorgeous, it brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. And I most DEFINITELY prefer the Broadway “Endgame” to the British version. Check, Never, Check, Never, Check, Never. It illustrates how Chess is a “soul consuming game” more in keeping of the Queens lament for her son in the “Story of Chess” . Also the cheer of USA, USA was such a musical counterpoint to the tragic sacrifice we just witnessed by Anatoly. And what a mistake to give “Someone Else’s Story” to Svetlana. Though that actress sang better, the lyrics didn’t fit the character. It makes more sense for Florence in Act 1 who’s spent 7 years with a guy who basically ignored her but didn’t have the strength to leave. After all, Anatoly LEAVES Svetlana – so why the song?

  • rick

    Dang,
    We have been waiting to see this but the showing date was not announced in our area. Will you air this again? If so, when?
    Please, please….

  • Lydia

    Yus – get a life.

  • Jeff

    I am glad that I am no the only one having an issue with finding this on local PBS stations. Look if Utah is gitting it on one of their stations, why isn’t our local SF kqed airing it? Look I like David Foster but enough…

  • Scott

    I second the request for reairing the episode. The 2 HD showings was too little. Any chance a bluray HD version will be released? The HD presentation I saw (only caught part of the 1st broadcast and my alarm clock didn’t wake me for the early morning one) was amazing.

  • Yus

    Lydia – get a brain.

  • Lindsey

    Idina is incredible…I’m dragging today cause I stayed up late watching this last night…her voice is captivating ;)

  • Patricia Peguero

    I’m may not be an expert in music, but I know when somebody’s voice gets to my heart, of course I’m talking about Josh Groban, he may not have enough stage experience but for this to be his first musical he did an excellent job. May the Lord bless your voice and your heart, keep on doing the great work you always do. Go Josh.

  • Carol Russomanno

    This was a first for me and unfortunately I only cuaght it from the middle. It was wonderful. I would truly love to see it broadcast again. The entire csst was GREAT.

  • Jeffery Pferd

    After seeing the performance on PBS, I ordered the DVD. It is as stunning as the broadcast and you can expose the subtitles that gives you the lyrics. I agree with everyone about ALL the actors and actresses. The music and lyrics are now apart of my interior!! Thanks to all who made this great art possible!

  • Bobby Blagg

    A wonderful and talented bunch of professionals having fun, mesmerizing the audience while enjoying a positively charged atmosphere. Kudos to all!!

  • Jade Bacon

    I would love to see this on PBS again, SOON! It was such a great show, please show it again soon.

  • Rose Javier

    i get our broadcast from KCTS9 in seattle. would like to know next show for Chess the Musical.

  • Jim Colyer

    I watched Chess In Concert last night for the first time and enjoyed it. The songs of Benny and Bjorn keep the show alive!

  • Carol Rosenfeld

    I saw this in its original form in 1986. It was wonderful then and wonderful now. This production was magnificent.

  • Duane Brodnick

    I’ve been a fan of CHESS since seeing it on Broadway. I have two versions of the cast CDs. I even saw a ‘revived’ version in a church on Riverside Drive in NYC. I was as blown as before. I don’t care how many versions there are. If I can see it being performed, I’ll be in the audience. I’d love to see it come back on Broadway sometime in 2010.

  • Arun Jain

    My son was in it in the orchestra. I loved the play. When will it be broadcast again?

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  • Adam

    Really that is great performance! I am waiting for this performance with other Josh Groban fans.

  • Millie P

    I would love to see this on PBS again. A broadcast warning came on right in the middle of it. How disappointing. Also, I love the fact that PBS bleeped out the bad words. I know the words would be on the DVDs. Will it be possible to rebroadcast this wonderful show?

  • Janet

    I never saw the stage show but have heard music from this show for years…it always sounded intriguing as it seemed to have such energy and power………..I happened to come upon the Great Performances show recently on a NH station and was lucky enough to hear it from the first act!!…….it was not listed in my Mass. members’ magazine so after the finale I went to the computer for even more information…….I agree with Millie that it should be rebroadcast and hope it is on a Mass. channel……..Thank you so much for sharing it……..

  • Maiuca123

    Not fair! I didn’t know Idina Menzel back then… I wish they could play it again! i don’t know where to find the dvd and I really wanna see this! Will they ever replay it?

  • http://watchmoviesforfree.com.au Jack Mckay

    After reading a few reviews about the movie I thought it would be worth a trip to the cinema or worth the download online to see it I’ve been waiting for this movie for a while I might just bite the bullet and end up seeing it, ill come back here and post my review, cheers .

  • Holly

    What a wonderful musical Chess in Concert is. I’ve been going to the theatre for over 30 years and rarely have I seen something so sophistocated, and I felt the London Philarmonic Orchestra really amplified the brilliance of the score. It’s one of my all-time favourites in fact, right up there with Phantom of the Opera and Million Dollar Quartet.

  • Pat

    Unfortunately I missed seeing Chess In Concert when it was shown by my cable provider, Comcast, in 2010 (for a very limited period in Central Florida). My cousin who saw it raved about it and recommended I see it the next time it’s shown. I’ve been following closely your weekly listing throughout 2011, but I’ve yet to see it listed. Will this concert be shown in 2011? If so, when? Thank you.

  • David Sutter

    hurray! At long last!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to this …Chess is fantastiic theater…Oh thank heaven for PBS and Great Preformaces…Im a native NYer living in Fl and miss Boradway..And With the recent PBS telecasts of Phantom, Le Mis and now Chess! And it being avilable on DVD there after…Keep it comming. its sad the Chess never recived the presentation here in the states like it did in the UK…Now all of us wil lget to see it in all of its glory…

  • david ernst

    Hi David,
    Unfortunately this program aired in the Summer of 2009, so chances are it will not be re-aired. You can purchase the Great Performances program on http://www.shoppbs.org. Here’s the direct link below:

    http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=3704424&cp=&sr=1&kw=chess+in+concert&origkw=Chess+In+Concert&parentPage=search

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