CHESS in Concert Auditions

Directed by Mark Baer

With music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice.  The story involves a politically driven, Cold War-era chess tournament between two men – an American Grandmaster and a Soviet Grandmaster- and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.

PERFORMANCE DATES
February 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m.
February 11 at 2:30 p.m.

AUDITIONS
November 17 (Friday) 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
November18 (Saturday)  2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

CALLBACKS
November 19 (Sunday)  2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Auditions and Callbacks will be held at the Community of Christ Church, 2121 S. Ridge Dr. in Coralville.

PREPARATION
Up to 32 bars of a song of your choice. Be ready to work your song with the director during auditions. Those returning for callbacks will be asked to prepare musical selections from the score.

SIGN-UP FOR AUDITION TIME SLOT (Audition Forms accepted starting October 13)
Fill out an Audition Form to secure an audition appointment. Walk-ins are always welcome, but those with appointments will take priority. Once you fill out an Audition Form, our producer, Liz Tracey will contact you with your appointment time. If you submit a form, and don’t hear back from us within a couple of days, please email etracey@coralville.org.

REHEARSALS

  • 1st rehearsals: December 2 and 3 from 2.p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Resume after the holidays: January 4 and 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and January 6 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Music rehearsals: January 8-22, Monday through Friday from  7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Staging rehearsals: January 23-February 2, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Expect Saturday and Sunday afternoon rehearsals due to an out of town director and a shorter rehearsal process.
  • Sitzprobe and Dress Rehearsals:  February 3-8
  • Chorus: minimal rehearsal commitment. This is a concert version.
  • Actors will only be called as needed.
DIRECTOR’S NOTE
Chess has undergone major revisions and rewrites throughout its production history.  Our production will follow most closely the libretto, score and production style of the 2008 concert version featuring Josh Groban, Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel, and Kerry Ellis which was recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall.
 
DIRECTOR’S SYNOPSIS
Set against the backdrop of the cold war in the early 1980s, Chess tells the story of Florence Vassy, a manager in the male-dominated world of professional chess, as she navigates a series of high-stakes professional and personal conflicts in which she inevitably plays a supporting role.  Through the course of the show she discovers that she can be more in life than somebody else’s queen.
 
At rise, Florence’s relationship with American chess champion Frederick “Freddie” Trumper is on the rocks. The world chess championship is underway in Merano, Italy, overseen by the Arbiter.  Freddie uses ego-driven grandstanding to negotiate a larger paycheck from Global Television’s Walter de Courcey, leaving Florence to handle the diplomatic embarrassment with Russian manager Molokov and his player Anatoly Sergievsky.  Freddie, distracted by what he thinks is Florence’s betrayal, loses the match and Anatoly is crowned.  Florence leaves Freddie, resigns as his manager and simultaneously begins a romantic relationship with Anatoly, who she helps to defect to England. 
 
A year later, Florence and Anatoly are still together as he prepares to defend his title in Bangkok, Thailand against new Russian challenger Leonid Viigand.  Freddie is now employed by Walter at Global Television, and maintains his grudge against the couple.  In order to distract Anatoly and give his player the advantage, Molokov has arranged for Svetlana, Anatoly’s estranged wife, to be present in Bangkok.  Despite a flurry of complicated manipulations Walter and Molokov intended to convince Anatoly to throw the match, he defeats Viigand and remains champion.  But the game has changed both Florence and Anatoly, and their relationship cannot continue.  Anatoly returns to Russia to take responsibility for his personal and political actions, while Florence moves into the future with new independence.
 
PRINCIPAL ROLES
Florence Vassy (Female, Mezzo-Soprano or Belter) – A lover and “second” to Frederick in act 1 and Anatoly in act 2.  Intelligent, honest, loyal, self-sacrificing.  Born in Budapest and separated from her father during the Hungarian revolution of 1956, then raised in England. 
Musical Numbers: “What a Scene What a Sight,” “Commie Newspapers,” “Press Conference,” “Dangerous and Difficult Times,” “A Model of Decorum and Tranquility,” “Florence and Molokov,” “Nobody’s Side,” “Mountain Duet,” “Florence Quits,” “Heaven Help My Heart,” “One More Opponent,” “You and I,” “The Deal,” “I Know Him So Well,” “You and I (reprise),” “Epilogue”.
 
Anatoly Sergievsky (Male, Baritone/Tenor) – A chess champion from the Soviet Union.  Brilliant, passionate, personable, always plays the long game.  Has a wife and children back in Russia, a fact that he conceals from Florence until after he has defected.
Musical Numbers: “Anatoly and Molokov,” “Where I Want To Be,” “A Model of Decorum and Tranquility,” “Mountain Duet,” “Anthem,” “One More Opponent,” “You and I,” “Interview,” “The Deal,”: “Endgame pt 2,” “You and I (Reprise)”.
 
Frederick Trumper (Male, Tenor) – A chess champion from America.  Brilliant, selfish, defensive, willing to fight dirty, every move is about personal gain, dubious of those who claim to be on his side.  Child of a broken home.
Musical Numbers: “What a Scene What a Sight,” “Commie Newspapers,” “Press Conference,” “Budapest is Rising,” “Mountain Duet,” “Florence Quits,” “Pity the Child (part 1),” “One Night in Bangkok,” “Interview,” “The Deal,” “Pity the Child (part 2),”  “Endgame”.
 
The Arbiter (gender unspecified, Tenor or Soprano) – The coldly objective, no-nonsense president of the International Chess Federation.  He sees every human interaction as moves on a chess board.
Musical Numbers: “The Story of Chess,”  “Arbiter, Arbiter (reprise),”  “The Deal”.
 
Molokov (gender unspecified, Bass or Alto) – A Russian diplomat charged with managing Anatoly in act 1 and Viigand in act 2.  Views chess as a mode for asserting the superiority of the Soviet way of life.  Devoid of moral boundaries.
Musical Numbers: “Anatoly and Molokov,”  “Dangerous and Difficulty Times,”  “A Model of Decorum and Tranquility,” “Florence and Molokov,” “The Soviet Machine,” “The Deal,” “Endgame”.
 
Walter de Courcey (Male, Bass-Baritone) – An American reporter and producer working for Global Television.  His interest is in monetizing the sport of chess for the television audience.  Like, Molokov, he is devoid of moral boundaries.
Musical Numbers: “Dangerous and Difficult Times,” “Interview,” “The Deal”.
 
Svetlana (Female, Mezzo-Soprano) – Anatoly’s estranged wife, in love with him still. She is dragged to Bangkok by Molokov and forced to convince Anatoly to throw the match.  Although she does not appear in the first act, her role in the second part of the story is surprisingly emotional and compelling.
Musical Numbers: “Somebody Else’s Story,” “The Deal,” “I Know Him So Well,” “Endgame pt 2”.
 
Ensemble Roles (members of the chorus may be assigned these solo roles in addition to their choral parts)
Leonid Viigand – (male, non-singing) – The Russian challenger to Anatoly in the second act.  Appears briefly in the first act as well.  He is said to be “a machine,” deeply logical and focused, in contrast to Freddie’s anger and Anatoly’s passion.
Mayor of Merano – marketing his city to the world.
Musical Numbers:  “Merano”
Reporters – aggressive and relentless
Musical Numbers: “Press Conference,” “Anatoly and the Press”
Delegates (American and Russian)
Musical Numbers – “Dangerous and Difficult Times”
Civil Servants – quirky workers at the British Embassy in Merano.
Musical Numbers: “Embassy Lament”
Cronies – perhaps the same as the Russian diplomats.  Scene takes place in a Bangkok nightclub.
Musical Numbers: “The Soviet Machine”
Backup Singers – not characters, but unnamed vocalists that sing harmony for some of the show’s most famous songs.
Musical Numbers:  “Where I Want To Be,” “Nobody’s Side,” “Heaven Help My Heart,” “Endgame pt 2”.
 
Chorus – the full chorus will sing in the following numbers:
“The Story of Chess,” “Merano,” “Merano 2,” “Arbiter,” “Opening Ceremony,” “Budapest is Rising,” “One Night in Bangkok,” “Endgame,” “Epilogue”.