Chess (London Stage Version)

by  Benny Andersson, Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulvaeus

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  5m, 2f

Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice's highly acclaimed musical set against the background of the Cold War.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 2f
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Accolades


    From West End
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

This highly acclaimed musical develops the ancient and distinguished game of chess into a metaphor for romantic rivalries and East-West political intrigue. The principal pawns form a love triangle: the loutish American Grandmaster, the earnest Russian champion and the Hungarian-American female chess second, who arrives at the international championships with the American but falls for the Russian. From Tyrol to Thailand the players, lovers, politicians, CIA and KGB make their moves to the pulse of this monumental rock score.
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Love, Politics


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1980s, 1950s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The action takes place in and around the arenas of the World Chess Championships in Merano, Italy, and one year later in Bangkok, Thailand during the Cold War Era of the early 1980s.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large


5m, 2f
FREDERICK TRUMPER, American grandmaster
FLORENCE VASSY, Frederick’s lover/second
ANATOLY SERGIEVSKY, Russian grandmaster
WALTER DE COURCEY, head of the American delegation
ALEXANDER MOLOKOV, head of the Russian delegation

CITIZENS OF MERANO, REPORTERS, DELEGATES, CIVIL SERVANTS and various other roles to be played by The Company

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Cast Attributes

  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Room for Extras


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

2 Piano Rehearsal Act I
2 Piano Rehearsal Act II

20 Vocal Chorus Books

15 Librettos

Woodwind 1 (Flute 1, Piccolo)
Woodwind 2 (Oboe, English Horn, Cor Anglais)
Woodwind 3 (Bb Clarinet 1)
Woodwind 4 (Bb Clarinet 2, Bass Clarinet 1)
Woodwind 5 (Flute 2, Bass Clarinet 2, Baritone Sax, Bb Clarinet 3)
Woodwind 6 (Bassoon, Contra Bassoon)
Trumpet 1
Trumpet 2
Trumpet 3
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Keyboard 1
Keyboard 2
Keyboard 3
Violin A 1st Descant
Violin A 2nd Descant
Violin B 1st Descant
Violin B 2nd Descant
Cello A
Cello B



Benny Andersson

Benny Andersson

Tim Rice

Tim Rice was born in 1944. He began songwriting in 1965 in which year the first song he wrote, ‘That’s My Story’ ” (tune as well as words) was recorded by a rock group called The Nightshift whose career never recovered.That same year he met fellow budding songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber whos ...

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Bjorn Ulvaeus

Bjorn Ulvaeus

CHESS premiered in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on May 14, 1986.

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