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Chess, Fuse Productions

  • Schwab Auditorium, PSU Pollock Road State College, PA, 16801 United States (map)

FUSE Productions presents the rock opera "Chess." Directed by Richard Biever, FUSE states - "The collaborators on Chess are giants of rock music and rock musicals and here they have created a complex rock opera that played to full Broadway houses and standing ovations. In this musical, the ancient game becomes a metaphor for romantic rivalries, competitive gamesmanship, super-power politics, and international intrigues. The pawns in this drama form a love triangle: the loutish American chess star, the earnest Russian champion, and a Hungarian American female assistant who arrives at the international chess match in Bangkok with the American but falls for the Russian. From Bangkok to Budapest the players, lovers, politicians, and spies manipulate and are manipulated to the pulse of a monumental rock score that includes “One Night in Bangkok” and “Heaven Help My Heart.”

Note: A-D service at the Saturday, September 15 performance only. Tickets are available through FUSE (www.fuseproductions.org/hunchback, or phone 814-380-8672; ask for reduced ”student” price). Please reserve the A-D service with the SLSG office (814-238-238-0132 or office@slsg.org) by September 1, and please be seated in Schwab Auditorium by 7:15 pm after obtaining your equipment at the box office. Run time is 3 hours, including an intermission.

From Wikipedia:

"Chess" is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of the pop group ABBA, lyrics by Tim Rice, and a book by Richard Nelson based on an idea by Rice. The story involves a politically driven, Cold War–era chess tournament between two men—an American grandmaster and a Soviet grandmaster—and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any real individuals, the character of the American grandmaster (named Freddie Trumper in the stage version) was loosely based on Bobby Fischer, while elements of the story may have been inspired by the chess careers of Russian grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov.

Chess was a significant and powerful piece of music theater for its time as it allegorically reflected the Cold War tensions present in the 1980s. The musical has been referred to as a metaphor for the whole Cold War, with the insinuation being made that the Cold War is itself a manipulative game. Released and staged at the height of the strong anti-communist agenda that came to be known as the "Reagan Doctrine", Chess addressed and satirized the hostility of the international political atmosphere of the 1980s.