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Fresh off some big awards for the Netflix TV adaptation, Walter Tevis' chess novel is now entering a new medium.

By Christian Holub
March 08, 2021 at 12:14 PM EST
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It's been a big few months for The Queen's Gambit. The TV show adaptation of Walter Tevis' 1983 novel, starring Anya Taylor-Joy as fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon, hit Netflix in October and has been a streaming sensation ever since. The Queen's Gambit collected two Golden Globe Awards last month — Best Limited Series and Best Actress in a Limited Series — and picked up two similar awards at the Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday. But now that it has succeeded as TV, The Queen's Gambit is next headed for the stage.

Entertainment company Level Forward announced Monday that it has acquired the theatrical stage rights to Tevis' novel and is developing it as a stage musical.

The Queen's Gambit
Credit: PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX

"It is a privilege for Level Forward to lead the charge of bringing The Queen's Gambit to the stage through the beloved and enduring craft of musical theater," Level Forward CEO Adrienne Becker and producer Julia Dunetz said in a statement. "Told through a brave and fresh point of view, audiences are already sharing in the friendship and fortitude of the story's inspiring women who energize and sustain Beth Harmon's journey and ultimate triumph. The story is a siren call amidst our contemporary struggles for gender and racial equity, and we're looking forward to moving the project forward."

Though chess may not stand out as an obvious musical subject, The Queen's Gambit will not be the first stage production to revolve around the game. Chess, with music by ABBA's Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and lyrics by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice, centered around the Cold War chess rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union and first hit London's West End in 1986.

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