Monday, September 28, 2009

Chess on the Brain

Chess has been the theme of the household for the last little while. It all started when I rediscovered my love for the 1984 London musical Chess. Ever since I was introduced to Evita as a young girl - I have loved listening to musicals. During my teenage years my favorites were Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Phantom, Sunday in the Park with George, Miss. Saigon, Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love, The Secret Garden, Joseph..., and Chess. For some reason I stopped listening to musicals after high school until several years later when as a family we fell in love with Wicked. Since that time - I have introduced my kids to my favorite musicals and to my delight - they love them too! But Chess was one I had completely forgotten about until about a month ago.

As I recently discovered, Chess had an interesting beginning. Tim Rice (Evita, Joseph, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) teamed up with Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson (both formerly of ABBA) to write the musical and released it as a concept album before it even hit the stage. Which was probably smart because listeners loved the ABBA/rock influence which made it sound very unlike most musicals that had been written up until that time. However, when it was produced on the stage in London - it received mixed reviews. And when they tried to produce it on Broadway - it was a complete flop. Mainly because it has very empty characters and a ridiculously complicated plot. But fans love the music just the same.

After I introduced my kids to the music (after "bleeping" out a few words) I found out that there was a DVD of Chess in Concert that was performed about a year ago with Idina Menzel (Elphaba) and Josh Groban. I watched it with my kids and it was pretty good - amazing talent of course! I wouldn't recommend it unless you really love the music - which I do - and so I really enjoyed it. And again, I hate to recommend something for kids without giving the warning that there is some swearing.

With the subject of chess floating around the house - I decided to rent another DVD: Searching For Bobby Fischer (PG). This is a great movie that my older kids have enjoyed watching. I had forgotten that this movie has such a fabulous cast! Check it out!

And to continue the chess theme, the kids are playing chess with each other every chance they can get.


Anna said...

I love Chess as well. My parents took me to see it in London for my 13th birthday. One of my favorites.

Darren and Chrissy said...

I remember Chess from way back. I will have to check it out again. And I LOVE Josh Groban, so that will be pretty cool to watch. :) BTW, Wicked is coming to Kansas City in December and we are taking Syd to see it. We love the music too, but have never seen it on stage. We are pretty excited.

Anonymous said...

I also love Chess, and saw both performances at the Royal Albert Hall. just want to mention that it's Josh GrobAn!

parrish fam said...

I love "Chess" when I was on bed rest I caught the stage concert on PBS and it made everything all better for the time. And I did the same thing, became all obsessed with the game. I love hearing taht there are other lovers out there. The best part about watching it on PBS is all the bad language was bleeped out.

Julie said...

Happy Birthday to I.
I do believe it is the original recipe, but I've had it so long it could be a legend for all I know.

Chess is great exercise for the brain, I hear. I have to say that I've never even played. Maybe your kids could teach me.

Jennette said...

I haven't thought about Chess in years, and it's one that I loved too. Thanks for the word about the PBS performance. We'll have to go look for it at the library. Thanks!