Auckland – kiri te kanawa theatre, Aotea Centre


With music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA), book and lyrics by Tim Rice,
CHESS THE MUSICAL is arguably one of the most memorable scores ever heard.
Featuring global smash hits ‘I Know Him So Well’ and ‘One Night in Bangkok’, this extraordinary
semi-staged musical also features much-loved standards such as ‘Anthem’, ‘Someone Else’s Story’, ‘Heaven Help My Heart’ and ‘Pity The Child’.

This powerful new production of CHESS THE MUSICAL features an all-New Zealand cast, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and a 30-strong choir, for five performances only. 


This semi-staged production, featuring an incredible array of New Zealand musical theatre talent, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and a choir of 30, will be filled with sumptuous musical arrangements set to a gripping story.

Written in 1984 by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and Sir Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita), CHESS THE MUSICAL  features hits including ‘I Know Him So Well’ – recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest selling UK chart single ever by a female duo – and the upbeat pop favourite ‘One Night In Bangkok’.

CHESS THE MUSICAL tells the story of a complex love triangle combined with dramatic political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the early 1980s, where Soviet and American forces attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political gains.

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 underway. 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.

The musical originally premiered in London’s West End in 1986 (where it was revived in 2018) starring the beloved Elaine Paige. The season ran for three years, resulting in a BBC listener poll ranking CHESS THE MUSICAL seventh in a list of ‘Number One Essential Musicals’ of all time.

Chess the boardgame, however, is the world’s most popular sport, with 605 million fans and now enjoying even more popularity following the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, which drew a record audience of 62 million households. In the first three weeks after the TV series’ debut, sales of chess sets in the US went up by 87% and sales of chess books leaped 603%.

CHESS THE MUSICAL is produced by the makers of this year’s theatrical extravaganza JERSEY BOYS and is directed by Jeremy Hinman (Jersey Boys, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). Musical direction is by Penny Dodd (Chicago, Evita, Cats, Anything Goes, 42nd Street and The Phantom of the Opera) and vocal direction is by Jane Horder.

Sandra Roberts Publicity

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