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The Queen’s Gambit to become a stage musical

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Adrian Horton
·2-min read
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<span>Photograph: Ken Woroner/AP</span>
Photograph: Ken Woroner/AP

It’s not quite checkmate on The Queen’s Gambit. The wildly popular Netflix mini-series about an orphan-turned-chess prodigy is set to become a stage musical, after stage rights to the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis were acquired by the entertainment company Level Forward, according to a press release on Monday.

It is unclear where the company, which has produced films on sexual harassment and assault including the feature and documentary On the Record, will adapt the musical. But given its recent history of Broadway productions, including a musical based on Alanis Morissette’s album Jagged Little Pill and the provocative Slave Play, by Jeremy O Harris, all signs point to New York.

Related: How The Queen's Gambit became Netflix's unlikeliest hit of the year

Its team members include Abigail Disney, co-founder of the company, as well as the Broadway producer Eva Price.

The Netflix adaptation of the novel became one of the streamer’s more surprising critical and commercial successes of the past year. More than 62m accounts viewed the seven-part series from Godless creator Scott Frank and Allan Scott in its first month, making it the streamer’s most watched limited series to date.

Star Anya Taylor-Joy won Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards for her performance as the steely, pill-addicted chess phenom Beth Harmon, who rises from a Kentucky orphanage to the height of international chess competition (and fashion) during the cold war. The series also won the Globe and Critics Choice awards for best limited series.

“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’s CEO, Adrienne Becker, and producer Julia Dunetz in a statement.

“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 statement added. “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.”