By The Team Who Brought You CHESS and Kristina från Duvemåla
October 12, 2019 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the male half of ABBA and composers for legendary (for various reasons) musical CHESS and renowned Swedish musical Kristina från Duvemåla composed the music for the 2013 hit theater production Hjälp sökes (Help Wanted). Here's a television filming of the musical from 2014 (in Swedish, no subtitles) [1h47m, plot summary in above article].

"The incidental music and eight songs that make up the score run to a total of 45-50 minutes of the 2 hour interval-less show."

Having accomplished their goal of giving hope and spirit to the brother, Hillevi, the mother and the goat leave the farm. What remains are two brothers who have witnessed incredible things and had amazing life experiences and now see the farm in a new light, glowing in the morning sun.
posted by hippybear (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going to plug this a bit further by saying it's pure magical realism on stage, and it's delightful.

Theater in a foreign language is easy to follow especially with a plot summary and a willingness to roll with emotion rather than word meaning.

Finally, from the article linked above: "Cast: Johan Ulveson, Sofia Pekkari, Magnus Roosmann, Suzanne Berdino, plus two giant cows, a horse, two pigs, one goat, three dogs and four geese!"
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on October 12, 2019

Chess is my favorite musical. I own a record player and one album.

Definitely will be watching this tonight, thanks!
posted by books for weapons at 5:51 PM on October 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was going to chip in a noob-flyby along the lines that I only know the '80s classic One Night In Bangkok from Chess ("I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!") but Wikipedia tells me that the evergreen I Know Him So Well comes from it too.

Will pass on that main link to those from whom I got my contact musical knowledge since they'll definitely appreciate it.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:57 PM on October 12, 2019

composers for legendary (for various reasons) musical CHESS

I'm curious - what various reasons?
posted by tzikeh at 9:12 PM on October 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm curious - what various reasons?

London's production of Chess was hugely successful, but the show did not survive a transfer to Broadway because they tried to "fix" it for American audiences. Since then it's been revised and retried several times, but as a narrative it's sort of inherently a mess and it's notoriously difficult to pull off a production that lands. I love it unconditionally and have several versions of it to listen to. Chess previously has details about its infamy in the comment stream.

posted by hippybear at 9:23 PM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ah - I only saw/listened to the London production and not the American one. For about 25 years there I thought it had become a period piece. Sadly, the world's back on its bullshit.
posted by tzikeh at 9:39 PM on October 12, 2019

If anyone's interested Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte North Carolina is putting this on in February. I have no idea what version.
posted by DanSachs at 12:20 PM on October 13, 2019

This post isn't about Chess, really. But I wish them best of luck.
posted by hippybear at 12:28 PM on October 13, 2019

Many thanks for this post.
You see its like this - the production was staged at Orion Teater in Stockholm which is just over the street from my ex-restaurant Babajan - which is now run by my son. At that time I was working there as a chef, doing the lunches.
Being 73 years old I had officially retired but I love cooking so I was still at it.

During rehearsal days the ensemble would come into Babajan and eat (special rates for artists) and in return we would get free tickets. Unfortunately, for some reason I couldn’t make it. Possibly because every performance was sold out.
So though I have made several lunches for Benny Andersson and Christina Lugn ( author and member of the disgraced Swedish Academy) - and may I add complimented for my culinary skills - I never got to see the show.
And now I can.

As a postscript - I am not sure that Björn Ulveus was involved.
I shall have to check the credits.

So many thanks, Mr Bear.
posted by jan murray at 3:16 PM on October 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

jan murray, I'm a bit speechless and teary-eyed. This was sort of a throwaway post, a thing I thought was cool but most of MetaFilter won't deal with foreign language musical plays so I was just putting it there for general use, maybe possibly.

I never thought it would intersect so directly with the life of another MeFite.

I really enjoyed watching the piece. Even with my German-attuned ear I didn't really follow most of the language. But the flow of the show was clear and the live animals on stage felt really astonishing to me. And the music was great, of course.

I'm sure you'll get more out of watching it than I did. I hope you enjoy it!
posted by hippybear at 9:46 PM on October 13, 2019

Hippy Bear - a couple more notes of trivia.

Those live animals for example. The Orion theatre is housed in an old industrial building which has plenty of space - including big stables at back for the horses.

The then director Lars Rudolfsson being particularly fond of equestrian theatre. He once set up a ballet for six Lippizaners and one human ballerina and a production of Mutter Courage by B Brecht had the family driving onto the stage in an old beat-up Landrover.

Oh - and Ulvaeus was listed as composer but I never saw him at rehearsal lunches.

So thanks again - and should you by chance be passing by Stockholm sometime you get free lunch at Babajan
posted by jan murray at 4:49 AM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

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