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KCET delays its move on 'Chess in Concert' with Josh Groban

June 18, 2009 |  2:35 pm


L.A. viewers who tuned in to KCET on Wednesday night thinking they would catch the much-touted broadcast of the musical "Chess" starring Josh Groban were instead treated to "Magic Moments: The Best of 50s Pop." Though PBS station Thirteen in New York aired the concert version of the musical Wednesday night, L.A.'s local affiliate decided not to broadcast the program, part of PBS' "Great Performances" series.

But fret not: KCET hasn't canceled the local broadcast of "Chess in Concert." The air date will be July 11 at 9 p.m., according to the station.  A spokeswoman for KCET told Culture Monster today that the station was looking for the right time to air the 2 1/2-hour show. "It was a matter of finding the right slot to air a program of that length," she said.

Wednesday, PBS' online message boards featured comments from L.A. viewers who were disappointed that their local station wasn't airing the musical. The website for KCET still doesn't list "Chess" in any of its upcoming schedules.

The concert version of "Chess," which also stars Idina Menzel and Adam Pascal, was recorded in May in London. Hugh Wooldridge, who adapted the musical for the concert, directed the production, and David Firman conducted the orchestra.

With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame), "Chess" was first produced for the stage in 1986 in London. It had a subsequent run on Broadway, where it was critically panned and ran for only 68 performances. The musical (which features a book by Richard Nelson) tells the story of two international chess rivals who become involved with the same woman.

-- David Ng


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