‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to Be Adapted as a Stage Musical

Level Forward acquired the rights to Walter Tevis’ 1983 book

queen's gambit chess

“The Queen’s Gambit” is being adapted as a musical for the theater stage, as the company Level Forward has acquired the rights to Walter Tevis’ book.

The acclaimed Netflix miniseries about the story of fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon has become wildly popular.

But with no writer of director attached yet, Level Forward’s plans don’t appear to have the involvement of “The Queen’s Gambit” showrunners Scott Frank and Allan Scott or of star Anya Taylor-Joy

“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.”

“The Queen’s Gambit” is a period drama about an orphan girl Beth Harmon who at a young age discovers the game of chess and slowly becomes one of the best players in the world, as well as a rare woman in the competitive field. But the book and the series show her grappling with drug addiction, high pressure stakes, isolation from others and increasingly tougher competition.

The series won two Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday for Best Limited Series and Best Actress for Anya Taylor-Joy, and it also received two Golden Globes last month. After four weeks, “The Queen’s Gambit” scored over 62 million viewers in the first month and was the streamer’s most watched scripted miniseries.

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.

Level Forward since 2018 has been behind shows nominated for a collective 37 Tony Awards, including “Oklahoma!” “What the Constitution Means to Me,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Slave Play.” The company also produced and financed movies such as “The Assistant,” “Holler,” “On the Record” and “Rebel Hearts.”

Tevis is also the author of “The Hustler” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” both of which became movies and the latter of which also became a stage production.


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