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Master Thor took me to see the musical Chess at the Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia. I loved it, though it's a troubled show. Why does the Hollywood agent in Act I turn into a secret agent in Act II? How many mysterious envelopes are there? And are there any two characters who aren't in love with each other (not counting the American chess player who is in love with himself). Still, I've waited twenty-five years to see this musical on stage, and I loved every minute of it. Here are some samples of the eighties-retro goodness:

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The Arbiter was hawt! Too bad his one song was so silly.

Oh I'm the Arbiter, I know the score
From square one I'll be watching all 64

I am so, so loving Euan Morton these days.

He had to sing all of his songs with an accent, and did a superb job.

He was terrific on "Franklin Shepard Inc." in SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM.

Some day I expect to see a revue comprised of all his nervous-breakdown-in-song numbers: "Mama's Turn," "Live, Love, Laugh," "Franklin Shepard, Inc.," etc.

Not seen this play but I have to agree, the arbiter is indeed hawt in his way.

Saw it in 1987 in London, with an amazing tilt-a-whirl stage and set. Awesome.

If the stage keeps speeding up until the actors are thrown off, that would be awesome.

Equity don' let you do that, no more! (much as I've wanted to, from time to time!)

There are finally limitations to the steepness of rakes on stage, except for those grandfathered in.

I saw a really great production of it in the early 90's. They kept the production simple and that really let you concentrate on the music.

Just when I thought I had run out of Deadly Gay sins, here's another. Thank-you mud.

I had always thought that Chess was dead and gone after being so unsuccessful in its original run. I am very envious that you got to see it and that you enjoyed it. I have high school nostalgia for "One Night in Bangkok" and, perhaps pretentiously, always end up having it stuck in my head whenever I am in Bangkok (even when I am there for more than one night).

"Chess" didn't do so bad. In London, it ran for three years and won the 1986 Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical. with rave reviews. Even on Broadway, it was doing "ok"... but not good enough. It got several Drama Desk and Tony nominations, but the eighties weren't a very successful decade for *any* musical. Let's hope for a comeback!

but the eighties weren't a very successful decade for *any* musical

Not quite. There may not have been as many musicals that opened in that decade, largely because six of the Top 20 longest-running Broadway musicals were keeping the theaters occupied during those years:

Chorus Line - opened 1975, ran 12.5 years through 1988
Oh! Calcutta! revival - opened 1976, ran for 12 years through 1988, thanks to a small house and lots of curious tourists (and here's a fun factoid: the original cast of Oh! Calcutta! included Bill Macy and Peter Schickele!)
42nd Street - opened 1980, ran for 8 years
Cats - opened 1982, ran for 13.5 years
Les Miserables - opened 1987, ran for 14 years
Phantom of the Opera - opened 1988, and the damn thing is still running

These other musicals also opened on Broadway during the 80's:
Evita - 1979, 4 years
Nine - 1982, almost 2 years
La Cage Aux Folles - 1983, 4.5 yeras
Big River - 1985, 2.5 years

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