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Chess (Gallery Players)

From 44 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing, Great singing, Disappointing

About the show

2018 marks the 30th Anniversary for this landmark musical. Here the ancient game becomes a metaphor for romantic rivalries, competitive gamesmanship, super power politics, and international intrigues.  More…

Set against the backdrop of the International Chess Championship, from Bangkok to Budapest, the players, lovers, politicians, and spies manipulate and are manipulated to the pulse of a rock score that includes 'One Night in Bangkok' and 'Heaven Help My Heart.'

Member Reviews (44)


Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing, Great singing, Disappointing
Avg Score

Ambitious, Cliched, Thought-provoking, Slow, Indulgent

See it if At it's best, Chess is problematic (Nelson's lugubrious book to blame) and this moribund production does it no favors Lame direction kills

Don't see it if Because of erratic leads, Freddie (bad). Florence (decent), & Anatoly (very good) chorus steals the show Has a cold war feel but it's a slog

Entertaining, Dated, Great staging, Intense

See it if great community theater. brought back memories of a production at Equity Lib. theater. great lighting. huge cast wide range of talent

Don't see it if relationships between the 3 leads not clearly there. at times music outplayed the singers. overall worth the trek. just about three hours

Great singing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you like this Tim Rice musical and can appreciate a good community theater effort, with some great voices and unique staging.

Don't see it if you are bothered by poor sound: background and band are too loud, drowning out all the female voices and making you strain to hear dialogue.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Entertaining, Dated, Quirky

See it if You want to support a local, non-professional theatre company. You love Chess and/ or Brit pop. You like

Don't see it if You'd prefer a more professional production company. You hate late '80s-early '90s musicals.

Also There's a lot of wrong here: the best, worst rendition of One Night in... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Entertaining, Long

See it if you enjoy stories of complex relationships or those set during the Cold War.

Don't see it if you prefer something short and light. This show is 3 hours long and is steeped in heavy drama.

Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you like to see musicals that are rarely done. Chess is a really interesting musical.

Don't see it if you like to hear the singing over a loud orchestra. I sat in the front row and could read their lips. The lyrics are great when you can hear

Also This is a 3 hour show. I enjoy this plot, games within games and this ... Read more Read less

Great to hear the score, Carmen napier = spectacular, Community theatre flavored, Doug chitel = very good, Less than stellar staging

See it if want to appreciate underheard score, experience some stellar performances, fan of Carmen Napier or Doug Chitel, want 2 well up at highpoints

Don't see it if Whitest version of One Night in Bangkok ever, unbalanced sound, awkward/minimal staging, community theatre flavorings, would keep u away

Delightful, Entertaining, Dated subjects but the music is still appealing, Great songwriting

See it if you’re new to Chess and can appreciate a good musical in an imperfect production and small venue

Don't see it if you want to see the ideal version of this musical; are really uncomfortable w/ sympathetic infidelity, Bankok curiously devoid of Asians

Also Chess has a new fan. I only knew 3 songs going in but it’s very easy t... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Romantic, Great writing, Disappointing

See it if You are good at imagining what an amazing musical it would be if you took away the problems with the staging.

Don't see it if It's a problem for you when the cast can't sing over the orchestra and even at their best, they're having to yell-sing to get it to work.

Also The three leading actors were all very good, and they did a good job g... Read more Read less

Banal, Disappointing, Amateurish, lackluster performances

See it if you just want to hear the great songs from the show sung by mediocre actors and singers in a production that lacks intrigue & thrills.

Don't see it if you don't want your memory of seeing a professional production destroyed and make you question the brilliance of the show.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You never saw the original and like excellent songs and score with good female lead

Don't see it if Overloud music drowning out male vocalists upsets you

Also Sound levels should have been worked out by this stage. You miss half ... Read more Read less

Confusing, Dated

See it if you have a desperate need to see the Broadway version of Chess.

Don't see it if you don't like 80's pop-rock musicals or you have a strong attachment to another version of Chess.

Also Chess at its best is problematic. The Broadway version is not it's bes... Read more Read less

Long, Great music, Intense, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if You don't mind seeing Chess with a Florence who can't really sing (but did a great job with the acting)

Don't see it if You can't sit through a three-hour musical about backstabbing and politics. I was riveted, but it's not for everyone.

Also The attempted Russian was so god-awful, I'd really rather they didn't.... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Great acting

See it if You want to support a great community theater and see a musical that is not produced very often.

Don't see it if You don't like long plays; it was almost three hours long.

Also The second half of the play was much better than the first half. ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great singing, Intelligent, Masterful, Absorbing

See it if the staggering level of singing and extraordinary music.

Don't see it if the story is a bit of a slog and too much going on.

Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if You like the musical and are ok seeing a production with some very good voices/actors, but otherwise some amateurish actors as well.

Don't see it if You want to see something polished with better actors and production values.

Entertaining, Ambitious, Very 80's, Enthusiastically staged, Epic

See it if you love the musical Chess. This is enthusiastically staged by an off off off Broadway group with much heart. Wish the vocals were stronger.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy community theater productions. Don't enjoy 80's costumes.


See it if you want to support someone in the cast or Gallery Players.

Don't see it if you are already a fan of Chess. Even at the community theater level, and especially for Gallery Players, this was a miss.

Disappointing, Ambitious, Horrible musical direction, Poor sound quality, Pacing issues

See it if you can't find the broadway album anywhere.

Don't see it if you like the musical Chess, have any musical background at all, or just have ears. I don't blame the cast, but the musical director.

Also The background music was really unpleasant and badly played. The singi... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Dated, Ambitious

See it if You like the not-often-produced musical Chess and want to see it any venue. You like the 80s and find US/Russia relations interesting.

Don't see it if You don't want to travel to Brooklyn for theater. You want superior production quality.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Good singing, Uneven pacing, Energetic cast

See it if you're drawn to an interesting take on the chess game of life with a talented cast highlighting pressures during the cold war period.

Don't see it if you don't like overly long performances with forgettable songs and background music that drowns out the vocalists. Romantic attempts fail.

Also I have gone to Gallery Player productions for many years and this was ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if .

Don't see it if .

Also I guess they did something to improve the sound system since I had Lin... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Slow, Resonant, Great writing, Exquisite

See it if you like political and romantic conflicts delivered as a metaphor. Fantastic score, and this group had some talented singers.

Don't see it if you can't handle long shows that maybe need to be cut down a little bit.

Dated, Confusing, Absorbing, Slow

See it if I gives one thought about the cold war and defecting

Don't see it if \Very long and the singing is not good. The Bobby Fischer character is very off.

Entertaining, Slow, Good singing, Disappointing

See it if Like me you have never seen Chess and are curious. If you like to support local theater and want to see an OK production of a flawed show.

Don't see it if You expect high quality/production values, don’t want to travel to Bklyn for a 3 Hour Show of cult musical favored for the music (weak book)

Also Chess is a flawed show at its core and for any production - interestin... Read more Read less

April 24th, 2018
"Thrilling music and beautiful melodies...A dud of a book...Napier and Chitel both have warm, appealing presences and good voices...Donnelly works hard to enliven the story, and has the pipes...for the role's challenging vocal demands. That his big revelatory number comes so late that we've long ...
read more
April 27th, 2018
"I have identified the problem with the musical 'Chess.' It's bad...The entire show can be lifted by a really good production, with performers filling in the blanks left by the writing...Sad to say, the Gallery Players production does not raise up the show. In fact, it helps to sink it...Harborth...
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April 29th, 2018
“When you play chess, you must be careful to select only the most strategically advantageous moves. This play highlights the fact this is also true in matters of the heart and regarding issues of statecraft. For those who are fans of the musical, you will not be disappointed with this 30th annive...
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