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posted: 2/14/2013 11:32 AM

Cold War setting for the rock opera 'CHESS' in Elgin

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  • Elgin Community College's spring musical "CHESS" will be presented Feb. 22-March 3 in the ECC Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.

    Elgin Community College's spring musical "CHESS" will be presented Feb. 22-March 3 in the ECC Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.
    Courtesy of ECC

Submitted by Elgin Community College

Romantic rivalries, competitive gamesmanship and international intrigue are wrapped into the world of "CHESS," a Broadway musical that will be the Elgin Community College Musical Theatre's spring production. Performances will be held in the ECC Arts Center (Building H), 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 and March 1; Saturday, Feb. 23 and March 2; and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24 and March 3.

In this thrilling rock opera with music by former ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and lyrics by Tim Rice, CHESS mixes the tension of the Cold War with a love triangle between an American chess star, a Russian champion, and a Hungarian-American female assistant who arrives at the international chess match in Bangkok with the American but falls for the Russian. From Bangkok to Budapest the players, lovers, politicians, and spies manipulate and are manipulated to the pulse of a monumental rock score that includes "One Night in Bangkok" and "Heaven Help My Heart."

"It is arguably one of the best rock musical scores written," says Konnie Kay, the production's director and choreographer. "The cast we have assembled is one of the most exciting things about our production. Every lead is a seasoned actor blessed with fabulous voices and stage presence."

Kay, who is a theater adjunct faculty at ECC, adds that the musical's sets and lighting will play a huge part in the production. "They will almost become characters themselves. Moving sets will become part of the choreography."

ECC Professor John G. Slawson, DMA, is the artistic and musical director. CHESS is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc. The cast includes Alisa Goldberg and Rhiann Owen of Algonquin; Dori Collins of Batavia; Caitlyn McIntyre and Vera Sutfin of Carpentersville; Marc Beth, Sonya Madrigal, Nicholas Metzger, and John Schultz of Elgin; Jamie Ellis and Eric Nelson of Geneva; Steven Lugovsky of Lake Barrington; Katie Pucillo and Chris Zeglin of Lake in the Hills; Carrie Dabelow of Palatine; Eric Faler of Sleepy Hollow; Justin Green and Charlie Rucker of South Elgin; Tommy Bravos, Terry Christianson, Jenna Karr, Austin Kinser, Ashlyn Seehafer, Bill Sherry, Michael Sherry, and Taylor Sherry of St. Charles; Alyssa Merzullo of Wayne; Tony Pellegrino of Streamwood; David Meadows of Sycamore; and Carly Vadnais of Trout Valley.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students and seniors. Tickets for all performances in the ECC Arts Center are available online at or at the ECC box office located in the arts center. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone, call 847-622-0300. All major credit cards are accepted.

Visit for information about the ECC Arts Center, including video clips of upcoming artists and events, the Standing Room Only blog, and links to the Arts Center's Twitter and Facebook pages.

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