Chess: A Real Love Story Intermingled with the Anti-one

I don’t remember who gave me the soundtrack to the musical Chess but I’ve been in love with it since my college days. Add music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (formerly of ABBA) to lyrics by Tim Rice (Evita) and you have a winning combination. One Night in Bangkok is probably the most recognizable on the soundtrack.

But I’d never seen it on stage. I’ve Googled it over the years and the only shows were in London so I figured it just wasn’t meant to be.

When I made the loooong pilgrimage to Canada over the break, I dug up that old tape (remember those?) and listened to it almost non-stop. I even voiced to Jamie how I would love to see it someday.

That someday happened within weeks of returning back to Colorado when I heard Chess was coming to the Arvada Center March 23-April 15– a hop, skip and a jump away from my house. What. Are. The Odds?

As a side note, I’d like to point out that for once, the odds were in my favor.

I obviously jumped on it the moment tickets went on sale and last night, Jamie and I attended the preview. Though I had a general idea of the story line (love triangle between an American and Russian at the world chess championship in a Cold War setting), much of it was new to me. Politics, intrigue, affairs, it was all there.

The first act was slower than the second and I can’t say I would have loved it had I not been already enraptured by the music but there I was singing away with the magnificent cast.

Fortunately, I left the dancing to them.

Outside of the theater is an art gallery. If the musical was the anti-love story, then Jamie and I are the anti-connoisseurs of modern art. I don’t discount its worth but I do profess my inability to “get it.”

Thus was the case as we stumbled upon the painting in the background of this picture.

“Merchants of Desire,” Jamie read.

“Hmmmm….” I murmured.

“The funny things is,” he mused, “There is no desire in it.”

And that, my friends, is why we’re so perfect for each other.

In the end, it was like a dream come true to see Chess, though we later joked the ending is like the anti-love story. Spoiler: Nobody ends up happy.

Except, of course, me for finally being able to see it.


I searched around trying to find my favorite duet from Chess: I Know Him So Well. [youtube]

Other Posts