Highlights: Ramin Karimloo & Samantha Barks in CHESS

Highlights: Ramin Karimloo & Samantha Barks in CHESS
Ramin Karimloo and Samantha Barks in CHESS

Ramin Karimloo and Samantha Barks star in CHESS in Osaka. #perfection

Highlights: Ramin Karimloo & Samantha Barks in CHESS
Samantha Barks sings ‘Nobody’s Side’ in CHESS

I loved working with Samantha in CHICAGO in LA at the Hollywood Bowl. What a knockout talent! And the most down-to-earth person you’d ever want to meet.

And Ramin is, well, Ramin. It’s a proven impossibility for me to listen to him sing anything just once.

The cast also features Luke Walsh and Takanori Sato.

Highlights: Ramin Karimloo & Samantha Barks in CHESS
Ramin Karimloo sings ‘Anthem’ in CHESS

I have a slight obsession with this musical.

I saw the original production in London starring Elaine Paige and Tommy Körberg, both of whom delivered gorgeous performances. That production ran three years.

The Broadway production fared less well as Trevor Nunn attempted to ‘fix’ the show. And he fixed it into a flop. But the gorgeous score remained including a new song for the leadling lady Florence in the form of “Someone Else’s Story.”

Tony Award nominee John Herrera starred in the first U.S. national touring company along with Carolee Carmello and Stephen Bogardus (I can’t believe I know them all) which attempted to re-fix the show again.

Part of the problem with the show was it was written during the Cold War with Russia. As the world moved past that political impasse, it’s now hard to make that aspect of the story play.

If you head over to Wikipedia, there’s an extensive breakdown of the history of the show and the many attempts to bring it to the level of success so many of us want to see.

In any case, the score (by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus) remains a glorious thing.

Lucky Osaka… For now, we have this: