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Chess in Concert (2009)

Josh Groban , Idina Menzel , Hugh Wooldridge  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, David Bedella
  • Directors: Hugh Wooldridge
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Reprise Records
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0028SVXVM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,333 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Starring multiplatinum artist Josh
Groban, Tony-winning Idina Menzel
(Wicked) and Tony nominated Adam
Pascal (RENT), Chess In Concert
revives the eclectic yet wonderfully
pop 1984 concept album featuring the music of ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and lyrics of Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The
Lion King, Evita). Recorded at
London's Royal Albert Hall in May 2008, this spectacular Chess In Concert - introduced by Rice and with the 50- piece City of London Philharmonic and 100-voice West End Chorus - finally fulfills the promise of the popular cult musical.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a purist, and this was better than the original December 11, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love Broadway musicals. I love them in their original form. I winced when the changed the lyrics in Oklahoma and deleted songs in The King And I for the sake of movie audiences. Don't mess with the original, that's my creed.

I have to find a new creed. This concert version of Chess messed with the lyrics, added songs, moved songs and changed the plot of one of my favorite musicals of all times. And I'm thrilled. It was a masterful retelling of the original story. Almost every change, every expansion, every redirection helped the story. My one minor quibble was that they sang *Endgame* before the game was over. But that was minor. The filler, the backstory, even the moving *The Story of Chess* to the beginning of the show were all moves that were beneficial to the show.

Chess has always been a bit of a Broadway oddity, with it's unconventional plot and occasional oddly arhthmic song. It is hard to understand unless you read the synopsis carefully. It's dated too, being a product of the Cold War. But those problems were swept away by the masterful rewrites and edits. Yeah, I missed a favorite line or two, but the ones that replaced them were just as good, probably better than the originals.

And no doubt they brought the top talent to this piece. Groban and Menzel nailed every note and sang with emotion and lungpower. Adding a bit more grist for the Soviet wife and inventing the role of the Broadcaster were not just filler. They were sweetners. I knew the musical back to front, but now, I understand it better. If you are a fan of Chess or of Brodway at its best, I recommend this in my most enthusiastic terms. If you can watch it without tears, you are a better man than me.
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95 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Unreservedly Excellent June 11, 2009
Four items make this a must-have. The first is Josh Groban singing the classic "Anthem", where, as the Russian chess champion, Anatoly, he avows his love for his homeland. As Anatoly's discarded wife, Svetlana, the amazing Kerry Ellis totally nails "Someone Else's Story." There's "The Story of Chess", where the Chorus perform Tim Rice's witty take on the evolution of the game. Finally, the Quartet, where Florence (Idina Menzel), Anatoly, his minder Molokov and the Arbiter deplore how chess has sunk from "a model of decorum and tranquillity" to "a battleground for rival ideologies to slug it out with glee."

Having seen the original London West End production in 1986 with Elaine Paige, I was lucky enough to witness this superb 21st Anniversary production in the Royal Albert Hall, London, last year. Tim Rice has tightened up the plot of love and betrayal played out in the setting of chess championships in the Cold War. Florence, who manages the American champion, falls for the Russian; complications - political, ethical, personal - ensue. From the moment the outstanding Chorus bursts into "Merano" - blending chess with commercialism as a tiny Central European town prepares to welcome the world - right to the devastating "Endgame" and final twist, the dramatic pace never lets up.

In this DVD, hopefully the sound difficulties of this production will have been ironed out. As to the cast - they were fantastic!! Groban is a revelation: a brilliant actor as well as singer. Kerry Ellis was a showstopper. As Florence, Idina Menzel, (so good in Wicked (2003 Original Broadway Cast), was too strident for my taste, lacking subtlety and roundness in acting.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My First Round Of "Chess" June 18, 2009
I've heard of "Chess" but never got around to seeing a live production or listening to a soundtrack. As an ABBA fan I was always curious what kind of musical Benny and Bjorn would produce since their ABBA pop-rock tunes were so incredible. Then PBS announced a special concert version of "Chess" featuring Josh Groban, Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal. So I watched it....

Wow! "Chess In Concert" really looked and sounded impressive. The only thing was I had trouble with the diction. I had to put the captions on to truly understand what was happening on stage. Once I got to view the lyrics with the vocals I was very impressed and kinda blown away by it all.

I'm not a "Grobanite" but I have to admit that Josh Groban (Anatoly) did a good job both vocally and dramatically. Adam Pascal (Frederick) never disappoints me. I could listen to his raspy rock voice all day long. Same with Idina Menzel (Florence). No, I'm not a "Grobanite" but this "Renthead" was very pleased to see the original Maureen and Roger share the stage again.

I also liked Kerry Ellis as Anatoly's wife, Svetlana. Ellis has a really neat voice that seems to be very sweet but with a touch of edginess (and what an irony that both Menzel and Ellis played the role of Elphaba in "Wicked"). The cast had a nice mix of classical operatic voices and rock opera wailers. The score is the same way with a blending of ballads, anthems, and toe tapping dance tracks.

Aside from the lavish staging (including a huge on-stage orchestra and a small army of choir singers), the powerful vocals and the dramatic score the story of "Chess In Concert" was easier to follow than I thought it would be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good towatch once
Good to watch once, not sure if I would watch again.
Published 2 days ago by Timothy Mark Morey
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fast delivery, my movie arrived in perfect condition.
perfect condition, I love it.
Published 16 days ago by Jeff Zandi
The Best for lovers of CHESS music.
Published 26 days ago by Stephen K. Liebmann
1.0 out of 5 stars Just glad I did not waste money on ever seeing the ...
A one song show ... after all the hype was very disapointed. Just glad I did not waste money on ever seeing the live show.
Published 1 month ago by John England
5.0 out of 5 stars My go to CD
When things get a little crazy here at work I pop this CD in and after a few songs things seem to calm down a bit or is it that I can sing along and songs make me feel better. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Anita iorizzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
I used to listen to the Chess soundtrack back when it first came out. I love this video recording of it at Royal Albert Hall! Great cast & good music!
Published 3 months ago by Kathy L. Woodard
5.0 out of 5 stars A true MASTERPIECE - in Orginal Opera form
This is absolutely fantastic engrossing stunning up your masterpiece of music and drama!!! Very similar to the original concept album yet personified with the additional songs that... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Moyo
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!
Wonderful musical!!! Highly underrated - I discovered it by chance and wish I had sooner. My only recommendation to those watching is to turn on the subtitles. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kayla
5.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't this musical more popular?
Chess has some of the most outstanding music in theater history. It is demanding on the singers but when delivered it can rouse very passionate emotions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by silvermist
5.0 out of 5 stars music
i havn't heard the cd yet. groban is a good singer and this cd should be as good or even better
Published 5 months ago by michael halvorson
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Topic From this Discussion
Chess on Blu-ray?
Unfortunately, no. Something which I was very upset about as they obviously recorded it in HD. Oh well, looks like DVD quality is all were getting. I've already watched my copy about four times, and I just got it yesterday!
Jun 18, 2009 by rufel |  See all 4 posts
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