Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

East West Players Presents Chess at the David Henry Hwang Theater, May 9 – June 9, 2013

East West Players concludes its 47th Anniversary Season, themed Spirited Away, with the musical CHESS, book by Richard Nelson, lyrics by Sir Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Aida), and composed by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (ABBA, Mamma Mia!), at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, May 9 – June 9, 2013. CHESS will be directed by Tim Dang, with musical direction by Marc Macalintal and choreography by Marc Oka.chess_teaser-for-cast_0318
The leading roles of the multicultural ensemble cast include Joan Almedilla as Florence (Miss Saigon and Les Miserables – Broadway), Elijah Rock as Anatoly (Ragtime, Smokey Joe’s Cafe), Victor E. Chan as Freddy (The Who’s Tommy, The Rocky Horror Show), Carey Rebecca Brown as Svetlana (Ragtime – Broadway Revival, Candide – New York City Opera), Ray A. Rochelle as Molokov (Evita, Miss Saigon), and Michael Alexander Henry as Walter de Courcey (The Lion King– Broadway). The rest of the ensemble are Cesar Cipriano (The King & I, Miss Saigon – National Tours), Stephanie Mieko Cohen (Les Miserables – Broadway), Jasmine Ejan (Peter Pan – National Tour), Shay Louise (Miss Saigon), D.T. Matias (A Chorus Line – International Tour), Domonique Paton (Hairspray – National Tour), Alex Sanchez (Hairspray), Armando Yearwood, Jr. (West Side Story – International Tour, In the Heights – National Tour).

Previews are Thursday, May 9th – Saturday, May 11th at 8pm and Sunday, May 12th at 2pm. All preview seats are $26. Opening Night is Wednesday, May 15th at 8pm and includes a 7pm pre-performance cocktail reception, and a post-show reception with the cast and creative team. A special “Pay-What-You-Can” Performance is on Thursday, May 16th. Southern California Edison Community Night is Wednesday, May 22nd at 8pm. Regular performances run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets to CHESS range from $51-$56, and may be purchased online at www.eastwestplayers.org or by calling 213.625.7000.

CHESS is a musical with international themes of breaking down barriers between nations, and having a multicultural ensemble enhances its message for the 21st Century,” says Tim Dang, EWP Producing Artistic Director. “In addition, EWP is also showing how multicultural casting breaks down other barriers in light of recent casting controversies across the nation. It enriches our theatre going experience, reflects the community in which we live, and offers opportunities to talented artists of color who might not have access to these roles elsewhere. CHESS is usually performed as a concert focusing on its music and is rarely done as a full theatrical production. EWP dares to tackle this large scale musical much like it tackled Sweeney Todd in its 1994 and 2006 productions: with creativity and ingenuity in its story-telling. Our audience is not likely to have seen a version of CHESS like this previously and may never see anything like this in the near future.”

From the lyricist of Jesus Christ Superstar and the composers of Mamma Mia!, CHESS the musical involves a romantic triangle between two top chess players – an American and a Russian – and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. All of this takes place within the context of the Cold War, as both countries vie for international chess victories for propaganda purposes. CHESS may be best known for its 1980s pop-rock soundtrack that Time Magazine called “one of the best rock scores ever produced,” featuring hits as “One Night in Bangkok,” “I Know Him So Well,” “Anthem” and more. CHESS is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

The design team includes set and projections by Adam Flemming, costumes by Anthony Tran, lighting by Dan Weingarten and props by Ken Takemoto. The stage manager is Ondina V. Dominguez and assistant stage manager is VIVIS.

The musicians will include Marc Macalintal (conductor/ keyboards), Jenny Chaney (keyboards), Stuart Espinoza (drums), Khris Kempis (bass), Vincent Reyes (guitar), and Austin Yancey (woodwinds).

Generous support for this production is provided by the S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players. Additional support is provided by the California Community Foundation, Shubert Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Chay Yew Directs A.C.T.’s World Premiere of Stuck Elevator, April 4-28, 2013
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Paper Dolls at the Tricycle Theatre Extends through April 28, 2013
NAATCO Presents A Dream Play at Here, March 22 – April 13, 2013
Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season Features New Works by Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins
Signature Theatre’s Revival of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Set for Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, May 9-12, 2013
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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