79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
I'm a purist, and this was better than the original,
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This review is from: Chess in Concert (DVD)
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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Initial post: Oct 23, 2010 7:22:02 AM PDT
Most of the song order and the originals were in fact from the original London production. The Broadway one was a butchered version from |London mthat deleted major songs and overcompolicated the story.
Posted on Nov 19, 2013 9:19:31 PM PST
R. Ben Madison says:
Excellent review and quite accurate too. I saw the original in London in 1986 and agree that this version makes the plot more credible and the characters more believable. My only quibble with "Chess in Concert" is that its version of "One Night in Bangkok" falls far short of the Murray Head recording (and of his stage performance). There's something missing here. Other than that, this was well worth the purchase price.
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