Actor makes moves for ‘Chess’

Posted 3/17/12

New York-based actor Matthew Dailey gets around. “I go back and forth,” said Dailey, who is presently at home in Centennial with his mom, Mary …

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Actor makes moves for ‘Chess’


New York-based actor Matthew Dailey gets around.

“I go back and forth,” said Dailey, who is presently at home in Centennial with his mom, Mary Dailey. She often works as music director at local theaters, including Town Hall’s sold out “Finian’s Rainbow.”

Matthew Dailey, an Equity actor, is in town to appear in Arvada Center’s large-scale musical, “Chess,” which opens March 27, runs to April 15 and later moves to the Lone Tree Arts Center for 10 days.

Before that, Dailey appeared as Elvis at a Wisconsin dinner theater; at Arvada in “1940s Radio Hour”; in Wisconsin, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”; and Arvada, “Hairspray.”

When he was a student at Arapahoe High School, he appeared in Town Hall productions and school performances while attending Paul Dwyer and Alan Estes’ theater school in Centennial since age 9. He worked with choreography there and considers it part of his future, “when I can’t dance anymore.”

Next, he studied at Casper College in Wyoming and Western Michigan University, moved to New York and obtained his Equity card. (He auditions in New York for the Arvada parts). In addition, he has performed in Michigan, Indiana and Florida.

This week, Dailey, 23, is attending all-day rehearsals for “Chess” as an ensemble member, meaning he will perform several parts, including the Black King, in a game where the ensemble is a chess set. “Kitty (Skillman Hilsabeck) gets to create modern dance, which is her background,” he commented.

There will be two weeks of rehearsals and two days of tech rehearsals, then it’s time for previews and three weeks of almost daily performances.

Other South Metro actors include Alan Swadener from Littleton and Colin Alexander and Daniel Herron from Parker.

“Chess,” a musical with book and score by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA), is based on an idea by Tim Rice, who wrote the lyrics. It also is based on the complicated board game that requires cunning and strategy. It is inspired by the Fischer-Spassky chess match in 1972, which had elements of American/Russian tension.

American Frederick Trumper and Russian Anatoly Sergievsky meet in Italy for a match and later meet again in Singapore. Love stories complicate matters.

It first opened as a hit in London’s West End, then was staged on Broadway in 1988, where it flopped. It has been frequently reworked over the years, with characters and scenes changed and replaced by various directors around the world. The score is outstanding.

Arvada’s skilled Rod Lansberry will offer his version next week with music directed by David Nehls, choreography by Hilsabeck, scenic design by Brian Mallgrave, costumes by Claire Henkel, and light and sound by Jacob Welch and Steve Stevens.

The Arvada Center is at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays. Tickets: or 720-898-7200. Parking is free.


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