Producers of Chess the Musical are delighted to announce a stellar all New Zealand cast for five semi-staged shows coming to Auckland's Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre this June.
Playing the lead roles of Frederick and Anatoly – fierce competitors on the chess board and for the love of one woman – are music chart-topping pop artist Michael Murphy, and international opera star Edward Laurenson.
Caught in their love triangle is Florence, played by Heather Wilcock whose glorious soaring voice landed her the role of Elphaba in Wicked in multiple New Zealand productions. She has also played Tracy in Hairspray and Eva Peron in Evita in both Auckland and Wellington.
Trying to bring order and dignity to the game as Arbiter will be one of New Zealand's favourite entertainers, Jackie Clarke (MNZM). Jackie's highlights include performing in The Lady Killers with Tina Cross and Suzanne Lynch for 15 years.
Television and theatre star Stephen Butterworth (Ngati Porou) will be playing Walter. Stephen achieved a cult following for his roles at Pop-up Globe and has appeared in The Lord of the Rings and Shortland Street.
Playing Anatoly's sidekick, Molokov, is Matthew Cutts, a Kiwi whose star has shone brightly on the West End in London and across Europe, performing in some of the world's biggest productions, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express, Miss Saigon and Mamma Mia!.
Playing Anatoly's ex-wife Svetlana, is Rebecca Wright who has enjoyed an illustrious career in the musical theatre industry, most recently performing the role of Fantine in Les Misérables at The Civic in Auckland, to critical acclaim.
The production will also feature an outstanding ensemble and mass choir.
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 gain.
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 Musical is produced by the makers of last year's theatrical extravaganza Jersey Boys and is directed by Jeremy Hinman (Jersey Boys, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
Chess the Musical:
Venue: Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland.
Dates: Performances from June 16, 2022.
Times: Thursday 7.30pm; Friday 7.30pm; Saturday 2pm & 7.30pm; Sunday 2pm.
Tickets: Tickets from $49.10. A service fee applies.
Tickets available from Ticketmaster.