Inspired by the real life rivalry during the Cold War, CHESS: THE MUSICAL has been a favourite of the music theatre industry since its 1986 premiere. Penned by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, alongside acclaimed lyricist Tim Rice, it’s no wonder the show has endured the test of time.
Produced by Adrian Storey (of Storeyboard Entertainment), directed by Tyran Parke, and musically directed by David Piper, a new tour production of CHESS is set to hit our shores in just a few months, featuring Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Paulini, Alexander Lewis, Mark Furze, Rob Mills, Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, Brittanie Shipway, and a professional twenty-five piece orchestra.
A true chameleon, Rob Mills is a real staple of the Australian entertainment industry. He most recently finished his portrayal of villain Finn Kelly on Australian staple soap opera Neighbours, winning him Best Actor at the TV Soap Awards UK. He has also been featured in a variety of reality shows, including The Masked Singer, Dancing With The Stars, Postcards, Have You Been Paying Attention?, and The Celebrity Apprentice. However, Rob’s talents extend beyond the screen, with a sizeable list of cabaret and theatrical credits. Recent roles include Fiyero in Wicked, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Sam in Ghost, Danny in Grease, Warner in Legally Blonde, Jamie in The Last Five Years, and Cinderella’s Prince in Into The Woods.
Now, Rob is delighted to be returning back to the stage in CHESS THE MUSICAL, which will be touring to Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and Brisbane from April 2021.
With rehearsals not too far off, we had a chat with Rob about getting back on stage, and revisiting the villain.
Are you excited to be getting back on stage?
It’s very exciting. It is my first musical in a little while. I think it’s great for the audience as well to immerse themselves in a theatre with people instead of, you know, in front of a TV with their family. That ‘experience’, which we were longing for all of last year. I’m really looking forward to being back on stage. And I think [Chess is] a really fascinating story for sure. Tyran [Parke] is going to do such a good job. He’s just one of my all time favorites.
Have you started rehearsals yet?
No rehearsals, I haven’t even got the script yet – because there’s been a few versions over the years… an English version version, the US version. There’s been numerous sort of productions across the world over the last 30, 40 years. But I know that there’s been some reworking with the producers which I think have just being signed off on, which is fantastic. It’s exciting that it’s not just a cut and paste kind of version, that it’s just there’s been a lot of thought and a lot of work going into it already before we get it.
So you’re getting really a unique version of the show that may not have been staged before?
Yeah, I know that we’re getting a twenty four piece orchestra, similar to what you would have heard in the cast recordings. So to do that justice, I’m glad that they’re moving money from set pieces and set design and putting it towards an orchestra and a choir.
Can you tell me a bit about your role in the show?
I’m playing an undercover CIA operative. He’s basically the puppeteer of the whole thing, he’s the one that puts the chess game together and is working for the CIA to make sure that the US comes out on top. So he’s a bit of a salesman as well. He does whatever it takes to to make sure the US comes out on top or is seen to be.
If you could be any chess piece, which would you be?
Oh, good question. I would say Knight because I’m never making straightfoward moves.
Storeyboard Entertainment presents CHESS: THE MUSICAL
For tickets and more information, visit www.chessmusical.info