Book, Music and Lyrics by Dave Malloy
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
Choreography by Sam Pinkleton
Cast: Josh Groban, Denée Benton, Brittain Ashford, Gelsey Bell, Nicholas Belton, Nick Choksi, Amber Gray, Grace McLean, Paul Pinto, Scott Stangland, Lucas Steele
Ensemble: Sumayya Ali, Courtney Bassett, Josh Canfield, Ken Clark, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall, Ashley Flanagan, Nick Gaswirth, Azudi Onyejekwe, Pearl Rhein, Heath Saunders, Katrina Yaukey, Lauren Zakrin
Scenic Design: Mimi Lien
Costume Design: Paloma Young
Lighting Design: Bradley King
Sound Design: Nicholas Pope
Stage Manager: Karyn Meek
First Performance October 18, 2016
Opening November 14, 2016
Submit a review for The Great Comet
Natasha is young, Anatole is hot, and Andrey isn’t here… But what about Pierre?
Based on a scandalous 70-page slice of War and Peace, this new musical is Tolstoy like you’ve never experienced him before.
Step into a glamorous, romantic world of chandeliers, vodka and caviar in the salons and opera houses of 19th century Moscow, where passions ignite as Napoleon’s war rages outside the city.
With the cast and musicians swirling among audience members, this new musical brings to life the heart of literature’s most epic tale of love and fate.
Charles Isherwood – New York Times
The Imperial Theater, where the rapturous musical “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” blazed opened on Monday night, has never looked more imperial — or felt more intimate. Who would have guessed that Dave Malloy’s gorgeous pop opera, adapted from a slice of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” would land on Broadway with all its signal virtues intact, and in some ways heightened?
Jeremy Gerard – Deadline
I can pretty much guarantee that no-one attending this gorgeous evocation of 19th-century Moscow will leave convinced they didn’t get their ruble’s worth.
David Rooney – The Hollywood Reporter
It’s just over a year since Hamilton invigorated Broadway by looking back to the Revolutionary War to bust out of the mold of the American musical. What are the odds that another equally thrilling show would come along so soon, this one hatched with astonishing powers of invention out of a literary classic set in pre-revolutionary Russia? Writer-composer Dave Malloy and director Rachel Chavkin have been honing Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 in various iterations since this exhilarating electro-pop opera debuted in 2012. It arrives on Broadway in superlative shape, its humor, emotional content and rip-roaring storytelling every bit as vibrant as its madly infectious score.
Robert Hofler – The Wrap
While there are occasional dollops of levity in Malloy’s lyrics, Chavkin never stops spoofing his material, which is the major saving grace of this “Comet.” (The legendary Bob Fosse worked similar irreverent magic with the original “Pippin.”) Throughout the evening, clever bits of thespian business, as well as unobtrusive audience participation, manage to delight. And distract, in a good way.
Jesse Green – Vulture
To the extent that Natasha, Pierre has improved on its earlier incarnations it is largely because the casting of Groban required Malloy to build up the part, and to the fact that Groban performs it, albeit half swallowed in a fat suit. (Everyone is made highly attractive except him.) Whenever he is singing, the show feels genuine; in the finale, it is almost even profound.
Marilyn Stasio – Variety
“Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” with Josh Groban and Denee Benton in the title roles, is a luscious, 360-degree immersive experience that feels like being smothered in velvet. After transferring seamlessly from Ars Nova to Kazino, Dave Malloy’s innovative musical treatment of a tiny wedge of Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” has re-surfaced at the structurally revamped Imperial Theater in a Broadway transfer of the original, wondrously well-staged production by director Rachel Chavkin.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
If you couldn’t stand reading long and boring foreign novels in school, does Dave Malloy ever have a treat for you. There’s nothing even faintly doorstoppy about his musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which just opened at the Imperial. If the front page of the Playbill didn’t make it explicit, no one without a strong knowledge of the book would be able to guess that this young, sexy, jet-propelled show was an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Everything about it feels like a fresh, totally today attempt at making a bygone era come alive in every way imaginable. And more often than not it succeeds at making a great time, even if it falls short of making great art.
Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune
But there is an important exception to that flaw. It goes by the name of Josh Groban, who actually does achieve that vulnerability and connection. This is an exceptionally generous star performance, wholly respectful of ensemble. Even if Groban is selling a lot of the tickets, he seems determined not to compromise his famously awkward character, a man who emotes but blunders and whose interest is in revolution, not personal and professional development. He even makes himself look like he has been feeling too much to shower with regularity.
Matt Windman – AM New York
That being said, Rachel Chavkin’s stunning production is an intoxicating whirlwind of wild activity. The Imperial Theatre has been dramatically reconfigured into a multilevel wonderland that evokes a war zone, upper-crust society and a trendy nightclub.
Leah Greenblatt – Entertainment Weekly
Off-Broadway, Natasha was an actual movable feast — a speakeasy-cabaret complete with Borscht and beef and an open bar. Here, the original dinner theater has necessarily been reduced to a bite-size potato peirogi passed out in a tiny welcome-to-the-show gift box, and the frequent toasting of shot-glass “vodka.” Instead, the focus turns to its immersive, interactive setting, where cast members, dressed like steampunk extras from Westworld in leather and silk and torn fishnets, weave through the multi-level seats — plying their instruments, plopping into laps, offering up tiny egg-shakers for audience accompaniment. (Come prepared to participate, and possibly lose a contact lens in the first act’s black-light flash-mob rave scene.)
Robert Kahn – NBC New York
“The Great Comet” team has managed something unusual for Broadway, an intimate and affecting musical that can’t really be said to have populist appeal. I imagine you’d experience it differently depending on your seat, and possibly every time you might attend. Bravo.
Linda Winer – Newsday
If you want to get away — I mean really, really away — from concerns of the day, here is “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.” It’s a massive, luscious, romantic escape into decadent 19th century Moscow by way of Broadway’s Imperial Theatre.
Joe Dziemianowicz – NY Daily News
The large talented cast delivers the goods in director Rachel Chavkin’s lively staging and there’s much to admire in Malloy’s wistful arias and rowdy beats. The production sometimes stalls and loses impact amid the sprawl and spectacle. Pierre’s long absences from the action stick out more than when Malloy played him. Still, the show is bold and affecting and a welcome addition to the Great White Way.