BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - On the weekend of March 28thth, Berkeley Light Opera Company (BLOC) will present the seldom performed and much loved rock opera Chess the Musical.  BLOC aims to produce creative and inspiring productions of light operas and infrequently presented musicals, while promoting music education in the community through its association with and support of the Judith G. Wharton Music Center.

Inspired by the gripping 1972 match between the brash American boy genius Bobby Fischer and the stoic Soviet master Boris Spassky, the show originally played London's West End and Broadway.  The show uses game of chess, its pieces and its strategies as the backdrop for a tale of political intrigue, love and betrayal during the Cold War.  With lyrics by the legendary Tim Rice (Jesus Christ SuperstarEvita) and music by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!) the show features what Time Magazine called “One of the best rock scores ever produced.”  The score includes the 80’s chart topping hits One Night in Bangkok and I Know Him So Well as well as the much loved Anthem, Someone Else’s Story, Pity the Child and Heaven Help My Heart.

The BLOC production focuses on the music and employs a small tight ensemble of singers and a rock band. The cast, which includes singers with Broadway and Regional credits, includes local performers Ronit Horowitz, Heath Weisberg, Brain C. Jones, Alison Endee, David Claypoole, Alexa Ortiz and Katherine Guantez.

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The show is directed by David Claypoole and musically directed by Chess band leader, Staten Island’s Robert Herbert.  The lighting and set are being handled by local residents Wendy Romm and Brent Baab.

Performances will be held at the Judith G. Wharton Music Center in Berkeley Heights, NJ on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm from March 28-April 6. Tickets will be $25 and can be bought online at A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Wharton Music Center.

ABOUT THE WHARTON CENTER: The Wharton Music Center, located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights, provides music, theater, and dance instruction, educational programs, and performances for children, teens, and adults. In addition to instruction in all instruments and voice, WMC offers classes in musical theater, dance, drama, choral music, vocal music, music theory, audio recording, early childhood music, and music for children with special needs. Offering a range of musical genres including classical, rock, jazz, and blues, WMC is one of New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community music centers serving students in Berkeley Heights, Summit, Chatham, New Providence, Long Hill, Warren, Basking Ridge, Short Hills, Millburn, Livingston, Westfield, Scotch Plains, and other surrounding communities.

WMC offers orchestral and ensemble music education for grades 3 through 12 through New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) located at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. NJYS, one of the foremost youth orchestras in the state, has ten orchestras and ensembles for which auditions are held annually. NJYS’s premiere orchestra, Youth Symphony, has performed in internationally-renowned concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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