Chess in Concert

Recently, I bought the 2 CD set of “Chess in Concert”.  For those of who you who are not familiar with the musical Chess, “The story involves a romantic triangle between two players in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the characters’ personalities resemble those of chess grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi and Bobby Fischer.”  In this incarnation, the roles of the chess players are played by singer Josh Groban and Broadway actor Adam Pascal, better known for originating the role of Roger in Rent.  The role of the woman in Chess is played by Idina Menzel, better known for her role as Maureen in both the original Broadway cast of Rent and the movie version of Rent as well.   I have been a fan of the music of Chess for over 8 years now and when I found out that a concert version was being made in London last year, I was so excited because the music is legendary.  Two pop music hits spawned for the original concept album that came out in 1984.  Those songs were “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head and “I Know Him So Well” by  Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson and then later recorded by Whitney Houston and her mother.  The Concert album, which came out June 16, showcases some of Josh Groban’s vocal work with emotionally charged songs like “Where I Want to Be” and “Anthem”.  Before listening to this album, I was indifferent about Josh Groban but after hearing him on this, I am now a fan of him.  The person that really shines in this production of Chess is Idina Menzel.  Being a part of Chess, Idina demonstrates a vocal range far beyond what she displayed in Rent.  Her best songs on this album are “Nobody’s Side” and “I Know Him So Well”.

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