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Utah State University prof to lecture about ABBA's "Chess"

Published April 9, 2012 10:48 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kenneth Risch, head of the Department of Theatre Arts at Utah State University, will deliver a lecture called "Playing Chess: The challenges of directing an imperfect cult classic of the musical theatre," on Thursday, April 19, from 5:15 to 7 p.m., at Hamilton's Steak and Seafood, 2427 N. Main St., Logan.

Risch joined the faculty at Utah State University in 2011 after serving for five years as dean of the School of Fine Arts at Viterbo University. He has held faculty positions at the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Alaska, the University of Wisconsin and Tulane University, and acted with the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.The musical "Chess" was composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus — the two "Bs" in the musical group ABBA — and lyricist Tim Rice. Inspiration for "Chess" came from the matchup between Bobby Fisher and Boris Spassky at the World Chess Championship of 1972. "Chess" has become a cult classic since its debut in the mid-1980s, according to Risch."Critics felt that CHESS had an unfocused storyline that the score, as it existed at the time, couldn't flesh out or clarify enough," he said. "The characters were also regarded as unsympathetic and the ending, in particular, left audiences unsatisfied."A buffet with appetizers, desserts and soft drinks, iced tea or coffee will be available. Cost is $6.95 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and billed on an individual basis. Guests can also order from the menu, and a cash bar is available.RSVP to Natalie Archibald Smoot in the college office, 435-797-2796, or email, natalie.archibald@usu.edu.