Fans of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit are in for another treat, as the popular show is going to be making its musical debut. According to Variety, a company called Level Forward has acquired the rights to the Walter Tevis novel the show is based on, which means a trip to Broadway could be in Beth Harmon’s future.
The novel, which was released in 1983, follows the lead character Beth Harmon’s journey as an orphan with a preternatural skill for chess growing up in Kentucky up through her time as an adult battling it out again the world’s greatest chess players in Moscow. Played by Anya Taylor-Joy in the Netflix series, viewers watched as Beth battles addiction and sexism in the male-dominated art of chess and slowly rises up the ranks.
Whether this will be a musical that’s different from the already existing stage musical Chess is what’s going to be interesting, so there are surely going to be comparisons as this process moves forward. It isn’t surprising that they want to expand the world of The Queen’s Gambit, though. After a successful Netflix run, the show has earned Golden Globe wins and Critics Choice awards for both the show as well as star Taylor-Joy. On top of that, it was the streaming service’s most-watched limited series ever. So clearly, The Queen’s Gambit is doing something right and a musical does seem like the next best move.
Speaking with Variety, the Level Forward CEO Adrienne Becker and producer Julia Dunetz spoke about the story, as well as why Beth’s journey is important to tackle using the art of musical theater:
“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. 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 was, obviously, a smash-hit for Netflix and has become an awards season favorite. This month, Taylor-Joy scooped up, respectively, the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series. Additionally, The Queen’s Gambit won both the Globe and Critics Choice Award for Best Limited Series. With all the popular and critical buzz, this news is undoubtedly exciting. Anything adapted into a musical brings new life into the production and there have been some incredible shows put up in recent years based on novels. From Matilda to American Psycho and more, the theater is a wonderful place to explore a story that fans have clung to, and getting to see Beth Harmon’s journey on stage is going to be fascinating.