The Winner Takes it All

Theatre Breaks

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Posted by Becky

With the huge success of Mamma Mia the music of Abba has crossed generations and made Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson into household names. Set on a beautiful Greek Island the uplifting story of Sophie and Donna Sheridan has touched millions of hearts worldwide. When the film was released it became the biggest UK film of all time and DVD sales hit a record high with one in every four households owning a copy. I know that my Dad and I both have a copy.

However it was with a darker story that Bjorn and Benny made their theatrical debut. Collaborating with Tim Rice, famed for his work with Andrew Lloyd Webber, the three began work on the musical Chess. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War Chess is an emotive story of love and conflict, weaving together the lives of a Russian and American Chess player and Florence a woman who manages one of the players and falls in love with the other. The album was released before the musical staged and produced the hit song ‘I Know Him So Well’, sung by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson the song went on to win the Ivor Novellor Award.

Opening in the West End in 1986 Chess won the 1986 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical, and received three 1986 Laurence Olivier Award nominations. While it does not have the catchy Abba pop melodies Chess was nominated as one of the must see musicals of all time.

I’ll be looking it out for it while it’s on Tour and make sure I get along to see it. How about you, have you seen Chess? Are you a fan of Bjorn and Benny and has anyone seen their Swedish musical Kristina from Duvemåla?

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