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Since Bobby Fischer trounced Boris Spassky in 1972, examples of exhilarating chess drama have been few and far between -- at least in the United States. But the stage version might prove the exception: Chess, A Musical, presented by the Arvada Center, reinterprets the game of kings in a way that is hardly black and white. Originally a feature in London's West End and on Broadway, Chess explores the game, its pieces and its strategies through the lens of a rock opera, with lyrics from Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) and music by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!).

To create the Arvada Center's production, director Rod Lansberry took creative license to combine elements of both the Broadway and London versions for a reimagined version of the game's turn on stage. "He's taken the best of the two and melded them together in a way that is unique to this series," says Arvada Center spokeswoman Melanie Mayner. But he's left a big emphasis on dance, music and overriding chess metaphors: "The musical doesn't get produced that often, and that creativity is what makes it so interesting -- and so unexpected."

Chess, A Musical opens for previews tonight at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $35. The show's regular run is March 27 to April 15; tickets for those performances are $58 to $72. For more information, call 720-898-7200 or visit
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 1 p.m. Starts: March 23. Continues through April 15, 2012


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