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Sir Tim Rice with the cast of CHESS.

Sir Tim Rice with the cast of CHESS.

FINAL PERFORMANCES! MUST CLOSE SUNDAY, JUNE 23!

Critics and audiences alike have been raving about CHESS! The LA Times calls the rarely produced musical an “…imaginative production…” and Sir Tim Rice (award-winning lyricist) said it was “…terrific!” Join us for the final performances: Wednesday 6/19 – Saturday 6/22 @ 8pm and Sunday 6/23 @ 2pm.

Buy 2 tickets for the price of one! Enter code CHESS241 for the Wednesday 6/19 and Thursday 6/20 performances only. The code can be used online or call Box Office at (213) 625-7000 x20.

CHESS is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Featuring: Joan Almedilla, Elijah Rock, Victor E. Chan, Carey Rebecca Brown, Ray A. Rochelle, Marc Oka, and Ryan Castellino with Cesar Cipriano, Stephanie Mieko Cohen, Jasmine Ejan, Shay Louise, D.T. Matias, Maegan McConnell, Alex Sanchez, and Justin Vasquez. Learn more.

PERFORMANCE RUN
Wed-Thurs at 8pm Balcony $46/Orchestra $51
Fri-Sat at 8pm Balcony $51/Orchestra $56
Sun at 2pm Balcony $51/Orchestra $56
*$4 per ticket handling fee on all regular ticket purchases.

Student and Senior Discounts $5 off regular ticket price.
Special Group Rates available for ten (10) or more. Call Alison De La Cruz at (213) 625-7000 x 20 for details.

SAVE THE DATES
Wine Down Fridays
Complimentary glasses of red or white wine before the show, during the regular performance run. (Must be 21+ years of age.)

PURCHASE TICKETS AT https://eastwestplayers.secure.force.com/ticket

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Ryan Castellino as The Arbiter in CHESS.

Ryan Castellino as The Arbiter in CHESS.

Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to him/her. Is there any part of Chess that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?

I play “The Arbiter.” In simple terms, I am the referee of the chess match and the president of the International Chess Federation. I also act as the narrator of the story.  With Tim Dang’s encouragement, there was a lot of freedom to make the character my own. I tried my best to make the character unique to me and the result has ended up being a sort of odd, quirky, and funny individual. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I’ve ended up having a blast playing this very unique character from the vast canon of musical theater.

What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character?

The biggest challenge for “The Arbiter” are the vocals. The score is essentially a rock-opera, and musicals like that are never easy. The character is required to sing high and low, and definitely everything in between. Lots of sleep and lots of water helps.

What distinguishes this production or role you have compared to other characters you’ve played in the past?

This is the first time that I’ve been a part of a truly multicultural cast, or even seen one for that matter. I feel like often words are thrown out when billing shows such as “diverse” or “color-blind casting” and I have always been disappointed. Not because of the lack of talent by any means…the talent was definitely there. It has just never been a truly diverse cast like the group that has been assembled for Chess. I do feel like this production is absolutely making a statement that pulling from all sorts of ethnicities for casting purposes can be very effective.

What made you want to pursue acting?

I come from a family of artists – painters, fashion designers, musicians, singers, dancers, and my Aunt was actually a very good actress. She still is, although she doesn’t pursue it as much as she used to. But I remember seeing my first musical when I was 4. She played Miss Hannigan in Annie and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Whether or not I realized it, I’m pretty sure I decided at that moment what I was going to do with my life.

Have you ever faced adversity in your career, and if so, how?

I have been very lucky throughout this point in my career. I have very few complaints. However, it cannot be denied that being an ethnic actor does not provide a lot of opportunities in the theater. It is simply a fact. With that said, I do feel like I have had to fight so hard for every job that I’ve ever been given. It is very rare for me to walk into an audition and look appropriate for the role. Ten times out of ten I MUST convince the people sitting behind the table that I’m capable. It’s kind of a lovely challenge.

Any advice you’d give to actors just starting out?

There’s way too much. If I could sum it up as best as I can, I’d say work hard. VERY HARD. Every day that you aren’t contributing to your craft someone else is contributing to theirs. Do not give up. Stay humble and maintain an excellent work ethic.

What’s in store for you after Chess?

The day after Chess ends I begin rehearsals for Life Could Be A Dream. I’ve been very fortunate to be an original cast member of the show and I’ve been performing the role of “Wally” for about four years now, off and on. This next reincarnation of it will play at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater at the Pershing Square Signature Center in Manhattan. Later in the year I will traveling with McCoy Rigby Ent. to Macau for a special engagement of Miss Saigon. I couldn’t be more excited for the future.

How can fans stay updated about your projects?

To stay updated on the wildly varying acting endeavours of Ryan, you can keep track at www.ryancastellino.com or you can follow him on Twitter!! @RYANCASTELLINO

 

“You were all terrific!” Sir Tim Rice shared with the cast, band and crew of Chess this past weekend in an intimate post-show meet and greet. The cast was requested to convene promptly onstage after the show to meet someone, but were not informed with whom.

“Knowing Sir Rice is based in London, it was a complete surprise and an honor to have him attend our production of Chess in Los Angeles.” Says Tim Dang, EWP’s Producing Artistic Director. “He was so gracious in speaking with everyone and taking photos.”

Prolific lyricist and author Sir Tim Rice penned Chess with ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Sir Rice also collaborated with our theater’s namesake, David Henry Hwang on the Tony Award winning Aida. The Tony, Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-award winning lyricist is also known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) and Elton John (The Lion King, Aida) and Alan Menken for Disney (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast).

This Thursday (6/6/13) ONLY! East West Players is offering a special “Buy One Get One” ticket to the Thursday evening performance of Chess. Enter code CHESS241 when purchasing online and mention the code when ordering tickets at Box Office at (213) 625-7000 x20.

CHESS is playing now through June 23rd at East West Players. All performances are staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Performances run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213)625-7000. Regular tickets range from $51-$56. Student and Senior discounts available. Dates, prices and details are subject to change.

Photo Credit: Mike Nailat

Vidoe Credit: Oishi Media

Audiences Love CHESS! (VIDEO)

WHAT CRITICS ARE RAVING ABOUT…

“…imaginative production…” Los Angeles Times

“Dang chooses the through-sung U.K. version of the show, which heavily features his soloists, all of whom have great pipes. Joan Almedilla (Florence) soars, Elijah Rock (Anatoly) belts with gusto…and Carey Rebecca Brown (Svetlana) showcases delicate power. Victor E. Chan (Freddie) has moxie…while Ray A. Rochelle (Molokov) brings Bond-villain fun to the show.” – LA Weekly

“…for a show that rarely gets produced, Dang should be commended for tackling the challenge — and in doing so, exceeding expectations. Well done.” Edge Magazine

“Wikipedia writes that “no major revival production of the musical has yet been attempted either on West End or Broadway,” and it may be the case that Chess simply doesn’t have what it takes to become the blockbuster that sung-through musicals like Evita, Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Miss Saigon have become. Still, with Dang and company’s creative juices at full boil, East West Players’ revival comes darned close.” Stage Scene LA

WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING…

“Don’t walk. Run to get your ticket (to CHESS)” – Reggie Lee, Actor (Grimm, Fast and the Furious)

“This is a phenomenal production of an extremely complex play. The singers are especially remarkable.” Larry M.

“I saw the original show in London and in New York. This was the best of all – so powerful! So exciting – such voices!” – Charlie M.

“Talent knows no color.” – Melanie R.

“Incredible performances – better than London’s original production.” – Patron

“Florence and Svetlana were electric on stage!” – Patron

EXTENDED THRU JUNE 23! NOW PLAYING!

East West Players has extended the run of CHESS, now through June 23rd, 2013. All performances are staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm.

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!). CHESS is directed by Tim Dang, musical directed by Marc Macalintal and choreographed by Marc Oka.

CHESS is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Featuring: Joan Almedilla, Elijah Rock, Victor E. Chan, Carey Rebecca Brown, Ray A. Rochelle, Michael Alexander Henry, and Ryan Castellino with Cesar Cipriano, Stephanie Mieko Cohen, Jasmine Ejan, Shay Louise, D.T. Matias, Maegan McConnell, Alex Sanchez, and Justin Vasquez. Learn more.

Running Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes, which includes a 15 minute intermission.

PERFORMANCE RUN

Wed-Thurs at 8pm Balcony $46/Orchestra $51
Fri-Sat at 8pm Balcony $51/Orchestra $56
Sun at 2pm Balcony $51/Orchestra $56
*$4 per ticket handling fee on all regular ticket purchases.

Student and Senior Discounts $5 off regular ticket price.
Special Group Rates available for ten (10) or more. Call Alison De La Cruz at (213) 625-7000 x 20 for details.

SAVE THE DATES

Wine Down Fridays
Complimentary glasses of red or white wine before the show, during the regular performance run. (Must be 21+ years of age.)

PURCHASE TICKETS AT https://eastwestplayers.secure.force.com/ticket.

Watch a sneak peek of the rarely produced musical production CHESS, now playing at East West Players, with Director Tim Dang. The Los Angeles Times calls it “…an imaginative production…” and the run has been extended to Sunday, June 23. For tickets, call (213) 625-7000 or visit http://www.eastwestplayers.org.

Video courtesy of Oishi Media.

600x222-chess-b

East West Players has extended the run of CHESS, now through June 23rd, 2013. All performances are staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm.

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!). CHESS is directed by Tim Dang, musical directed by Marc Macalintal and choreographed by Marc Oka.

“Audiences who are CHESS aficionados or only acquainted with the concert version, are elated to see a full production in Los Angeles,” said Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. “One couple  waited almost 25 years to see a production in this area and are coming back again with friends. We are happy to present them with a stylish production with a most talented cast.”

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), and Ryan Castellino (Miss Saigon and Life Could Be A Dream). 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), Maegan McConnell (EWP’s  Pippin and A Little Night Music), and Alex Sanchez (Hairspray).

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.

Generous support for this production is provided by the S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players. All performances will be staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Regular performances run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.eastwestplayers.org or by calling 213.625.7000. Regular tickets range from $51-$56. Student and Senior discounts available. Dates, prices and details are subject to change.

EWP Chess_Ensemble

The Story of CHESS scene in the East West Players production of CHESS (L-R): Cesar Cipriano, Justin Vasquez, Stephanie Mieko Cohen, Maegan McConnell, DT Matias, Alex Sanchez, Shay Louise, Michael A. Henry. Photo by Michael Lamont.

East West Players reports an overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response with preview audiences for the musical CHESS. EWP is producing the UK Version of the cult-favorite musical.

“Our surveys and informal conversations with audience members, subscribers and donors are telling me that America is multi-racial, and all theatres should recognize our evolving environment and reflect it on stage,” says Tim Dang, EWP Producing Artistic Director and CHESS director. “If other theaters think that diversity onstage will lose audiences, they are wrong. In fact, we are experiencing an incredible amount of first timers to our theater – that translates to new audiences.

If other theaters think that diversity will lower the caliber of artistic talent, they are absolutely wrong. Audiences are raving about the incredible performers onstage. Talent exists in all communities if you give them access to auditions. From our recent auditions for CHESS for a multi-cultural cast, the talent was phenomenal. Audiences are also excited to experience CHESS, since it is so rarely done in full theatrical form.”

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!). CHESS is directed by Tim Dang, musical directed by Marc Macalintal and choreographed by Marc Oka.

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), and Ryan Castellino (Miss Saigon and Life Could Be A Dream). 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), Maegan McConnell (EWP’s  Pippin and A Little Night Music), and Alex Sanchez (Hairspray).

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.

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