Queens Gambit musical

The Queen’s Gambit musical being developed for Broadway

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Deadline are reporting The Queen’s Gambit musical is in the early stages of development — we take a look at the possibility

The Deadline article tells us Entertainment company Level Forward has the acquired theatrical stage rights to the story of orphan-turned-chess prodigy Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor Joy in the Netflix smash hit series). It also makes it clear they have plans to develop the property into a stage musical. There’s a relevant quote from CEO Adrienne Becker and Producer Julia Dunetz:

“Told through a brave and fresh point of view, audiences are already sharing in the friendship and fortitude of the story’s inspiring women who energize and sustain Beth Harmon’s journey and ultimate triumph. The story is a siren call amidst our contemporary struggles for gender and racial equity, and we’re looking forward to moving the project forward.”

It’s early days for The Queen’s Gambit musical but our reaction is this has strong possibilities. The central story is, as they recognise, one that resonates with modern audiences. A stage musical is going to need a new adaptation and we imagine there’ll also be a new cast, as well as songs to create. The Netflix series had a strong visual presence and was well rooted in the fashions of the times, with use of popular music here and there. It’s easy to imagine songs either in the style of the period or agnostic could work.

Let’s also not forget Tim Rice’s Chess, which had music created by Abba’s Benny and Björn. This had reasonable levels of success on stage, if more so in the UK than the US. It demonstrates the idea has merits and can be realised.

We look forward to hearing more, and seeing who gets recruited to cover the musical bases.