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‘Queen’s Gambit’ Stage Musical in the Works


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The Queen’s Gambit may be headed to the stage.

Production company Level Forward has acquired theatrical stage rights to Walter Tevis’ novel about a chess prodigy, which is also the basis for Netflix’s limited series. The company — which produced the two-time Tony-winning 2019 revival of Oklahoma! and What the Constitution Means to Me, which was nominated for best play — will develop a musical based on the book.

“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,” said Level Forward CEO Adrienne Becker and producer Julia Dunetz 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.”

The Queen’s Gambit centers on Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy in the Netflix series), an orphan who rises through the male-dominated chess world of the 1960s while battling addiction. The series became Netflix’s most watched scripted limited series ever after its October 2020 debut, according to the streamer, and has won Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards for best limited series and Taylor-Joy’s performance.

The deal was brokered on behalf of the Tevis Family Trust by Susan Schulman of the Susan Schulman Literary Agency, New York and Rachel Gould on behalf of Level Forward. The company’s recent Broadway productions include Slave Play and Jagged Little Pill, which currently are nominated for 12 and 15 Tony Awards, respectively.

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