The Stevenage Lytton Players performed Chess at Stevenage's Gordon Craig Theatre from Thursday 17th May 2001, until Saturday 19th May 2001. Sing throughs and workshops were held on Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th January 2001, and auditions took place on Sunday 28th January 2001 resulting in a very strong and experienced cast indeed. As a Stage Musical, Chess is a little unusual in that there is no definitive version. There are several different recordings starting from the original Concept album, several different stage versions (London, New York, Sydney etc), and even several different concert versions. In fact variation and adaptation is still actively encouraged by the authors in the quest for the definitive version. The version which the Stevenage Lytton Players so ably performed is based on the London Stage Production - held by many to be the best.
Opened at the Prince Edward Theatre, London on 14th May 1986 where it ran for 1209 performances. It originally starred Elaine Paige, Murray Head and Tommy Korberg. The American version opened at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on 28th April 1988 with a rewritten storyline climaxing with an American victory! The British Amateur Premiere was staged by the City of Stoke-on-Trent Operatic Society in February 1994. The Hertfordshire Premiere was performed by the Amanda Theatre Club at Watersmeet Theatre, Rickmansworth in September 1994.
This is a through-sung show, i.e. totally sung with no long chunks of dialogue between songs. The Principal characters get the bulk of the story to sing and so need to be strong singers who can sustain their voices for at least two and a half hours per show! The chorus work is also very important as they appear in at least 12 numbers. The music varies considerably, ranging from the Gilbert & Sullivan style to heavy Pop, with everything in between. The two most famous numbers from this show are I Know Him so Well and One Night in Bangkok both of which made the top ten in the UK charts.