Would an Actor/Musician production of Chess work?
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Author:  High-baritonne [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Would an Actor/Musician production of Chess work?

Would an Actor/Musician production of Chess work? Like they did with Sweeney Todd and Company on Broadway and Sunset Boulevard on West End.

I would picture the chess matches. Freddie playing an Electric Guitar while Anatoly is "battling" him with a violin. They would play different passages each, and the one who is supposed to win would be the last to play. Of course the actors would have to play several instruments, but I do think it could work if one could make good orchestrations and make the balance between the actors/instruments work.

Author:  Salome [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:44 pm ]
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why do it. i HATE that gimmick... John Doyle should be shot.

Author:  High-baritonne [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:14 pm ]
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How come you hate it? I really enjoyed Company, and Sunset Boulevard in London was great! The way the instruments was woven into the story was brilliant, and it really gave a special feeling having Joe playing every prelude to his songs on his flute, and using the organ when he was "editing" the script was really cool. It just sometimes feel right.

Author:  Oli-Ol [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:26 pm ]
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It works in come shows but the shows were designed that way. Chess works (kind of) as it is, and adding instruments would muddle it. Also, you are going to have difficulty finding strong actors who also play multiple instruments.

And even if somebody did it I bet they wouldn't include a viola.

Author:  Jekkienumber24601 [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:51 pm ]
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odd. I would have anyone using the organ except max.

Author:  kaelidancer [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:01 pm ]
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I think percussion would be the big problem - so much of the score needs someone sitting at a drum kit, you'd pretty much have to leave one character back there all the time. You can switch out pianists because pretty much anyone who can play an instrument at least has a rudimentary understanding of piano as well, but drums are a pretty specialized thing.

Author:  Canadian Drama Geek [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:34 pm ]
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It would be cool to see if this would work, but I think the idea is a bit of a tired one by now as well. Though it would be fun to see if the concept is fresher with a score that's more electronic than Sweeney Todd, Company et al.

If I were to assign the drums to a certain character, I would probably give it to the Arbiter, only because he seems to serve a bit of a narrative function on the recording of the show I have. In my opinion, it would probably be best to have a character who oversees the events constantly on-stage while on the drums.

Author:  Chess86 [ Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:41 pm ]
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Well it looks like that's what they are gonna do for the new UK Tour ... direct-new

Author:  Thom_Boyer [ Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:18 pm ]
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Sorry, I'm with Salome on this one. Chess with actor/musicians is nothing I would pay to see. Or sneak into, for that matter. Pared down orchestras are bad enough -- handing the instruments to performers who are only any good at playing about 50% of the time and then asked to multitask? Wow, you'd think it were just an excuse to not hire an orchestra, or something... Sorry, the Sweeney Todd revival was auditory methane, and I'm not about to live through that with another of my favorite shows.

Author:  dolbinau [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:40 am ]
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I didn't think the Sweeney Todd revival worked very well, but I thought Company did.

Don't really have an opinion on CHESS, but I agree strongly the chess game would work with the 'music battle'. If it was clear they are playing chess - they can both work out (with others in the background I guess) the title instrumental that usually plays during the chess game.

Author:  Cadriel [ Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:23 am ]
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A remarkably stupid idea in any context, really. Especially in a show like Chess, which has a demanding score and sounds terrible as it is with vocalists who aren't up to its demands. Trebly if it's going to be the light London rewrite that Rice did for the '08 concert - the book was weak in 1986 and he didn't fix any of the problems in 2008.

Author:  Salome [ Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:09 am ]
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dolbinau wrote:
I didn't think the Sweeney Todd revival worked very well, but I thought Company did.


I felt the opposite. I think Sweeney sort of workedi na brechtian style. company came off as clumsy and mishandled.

i'd hate to have seen Mack and Mabel and Amadeus. they must have been even worse based on the gimmick and the reviews.

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