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Feb. 17, 2010

Contact Ken Risch at 608-796-3774 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Viterbo University theatre students will present the symphonic rock musical Chess Friday, Feb. 26–Sunday, Feb. 28 in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

Inspired by the famous 1972 World Chess Championship between Russian Boris Spassky and American Bobby Fischer, Chess is a story of love and international intrigue. The music of Chess was written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of 1970s supergroup ABBA, and the lyrics were written by Tim Rice, who co-wrote other famous musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

“The events and characters in this intelligent and emotionally charged musical are based on those that I remember well,” said Ken Risch, dean of the Viterbo School of Fine Arts and director of this production. “Chess explores new territory in a highly unlikely subject for musical treatment, but the passions behind the characters are familiar to us all and the power of the story and the score is undeniable.”

In the musical, the ancient game of chess becomes a metaphor for romantic rivalries, competitive gamesmanship, super power politics, and international intrigue, according to the licensing agent of the original 1988 Broadway version of the musical. From Bangkok to Budapest, the players, lovers, politicians, and spies manipulate and are manipulated to the pulse of a monumental rock score.

Chess has a strong loyal following by people who love music theatre,” Risch said.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26–27 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28.

Tickets are $17 for main floor, $16 for lower balcony, and $13 for upper balcony seating. For more information, contact the Viterbo box office at 608-796-3100 or visit


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