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Valerie Sciarra: Blog

CHESS in Concert July 3o, 2012

Posted on July 24, 2012 with 0 comments

I am so thrilled to return to my roots and be Musical Director for a spectacular performance of Chess. Starring Tony-Award nominee, Robert Cucciolli, Natascia Diaz, Drew Sarich, Raymond McLeod, Gus Solomns, Jr, and Tamra Hayden.  Joining them is an 18 member ensemble of some of the finest singers I have ever worked with.

I met director, Chris Martin (Shakespeare actor, not rock star....) 6 years ago in the dog run here on the UES.  Random. But after a few conversations, I could tell he had been there, done that and had some incredible depth and wisdom in his ideas.  We never actually talked about music till years into our dog run meetings, and now, having two 'senior' dogs, I would never have had the privilidge of meeting him.  He found me through this website with this incredible project.

Having been out of the scene for a while, I have to admit, I was weary of getting involved.  And he spoke with such knowledge and passion that I thought for sure I would not be able to catch up to his vision and be able to see it through.  But here we are....

The convincing factor for me was this vision that Chris had.  He has really streamlined this dense story and stays true to the tragic love story that the lead characters experience.  It is the raw emotion in this thread that gives them cause to sing some of the more memorable numbers, such as "Nobody's Side", "Someone Else's Story", and "Anthem."  Very often I have heard these songs over sung by very well meaning and enthusiastic performers.  But to get to the core of the emotion behind them changes that approach.  My challenge is to help the singers find that internal dialogue that is contained in these songs.

It is hard for my generation to remember the Cold War.  I remember the wall in Berlin coming down, but the real impact of the US vs. USSR is a distant past.  My American upbringing makes it hard for me to imagine Communist Russia and the watchful eye of the KGB.  This piece now serves as an historical reminder of that time, through what I have always thought of as an innocent game that my son learned in preschool.   

My "uncluttered orchestra", as I like to call them ("small" seems so insulting...) consists of some of my regular players: Bassist, Jim Robertson, Guitarist, Aki Ishiguro, Drums: Chris Benelli, and my friend and colleague, Kat Sherrell on Keyboard II.  I will be playing and conducting, which is a huge challenge on a show like this.  

For those of you in the NY area, please come and show your support.  This is a unique project and promises to be an amazing performance.  

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Thanks to everyone for their unending love and support.