The musical “Chess” is ending its run this week, so definitely get tickets ASAP if you were hoping to catch it before it ended. Put on by the Austin Playhouse and Summer Stock Austin, “Chess” is the story of a romantic love triangle between two competing players at the world chess championship during the Cold War. The two players are an American and a Russian so it makes it much more interesting and dramatic because of the timing of the championship.
The music in the show is by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvacus of ABBA and the lyrics are by Tim Rice of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita” fame. The songs were great and the black and white set was very attractive but nice in the way it subtly brought to mind the very game board that brings all of the characters together. The dancing was fun, but definitely not the main attraction on the smallish stage.
The performance is in a temporary theatre right now and, while the theatre is very intimate, I felt so bad for the actors and musicians as it was pouring on the night I went and it made it a bit hard to hear the show. The team took a five minute break at one point hoping the rain would slow down a bit.
The costumes were a lot of fun, and not something that’s usually noticed during shows (unless it’s really bad) but I thought the actress’ makeup was all really nice and pretty, yet not distracting in any way. The lead female had an extremely impressive voice, and the reporter performer was fun comic relief.
All in all, it was a fun show, and nice to see a musical that’s not extremely popular (such as your neighbor in the theatre singing along to Cats and Wicked every time you see them!). It was a interesting plot, set and great performance by Austin Playhouse and Summer Stock Austin.
Chess runs through Sunday, July 22
Thursday-Saturday: 8 p.m.
Sunday: 7 p.m.
Mueller Temporary Theatre
1800 1/2 Simond Avenue
Austin, TX 78723
Tickets start at $28 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 512-476-0084 or online here. Student tickets are available at half price.