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!).
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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 www.arvadacenter.org.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 1 p.m. Starts: March 23. Continues through April 15, 2012