Broadway Theater Review: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

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The Great Comet of 1812

Official Blurb:  Natasha is young, Anatole is hot, and Andrey isn’t here… but what about Pierre?
Natasha is a beautiful ingénue visiting Moscow while she waits for her beloved fiancée Andrey to return from the war. In a moment of indiscretion, she is seduced by the dashing (but already married) Anatole and her position in society is ruined. Her only hope lies with Pierre (Josh Groban), the lonely outsider whose love and compassion for Natasha may be the key to her redemption… and to the renewal of his own soul.
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812 stars multi-platinum recording artist Josh Groban in his Broadway debut. Inspired by a 70-page slice of War and Peace, this “vibrant, thrillingly imagined new musical” (NY Times) brings us just inches from Tolstoy’s brash young lovers as they light up Moscow in a “heaven-sent fireball” (NY Times) of romance and passion.
The Great Comet arrives fresh off its sold-out run in Boston and its critically acclaimed 2013 Off-Broadway premiere. Its renowned creative team has reimagined the Imperial Theatre as an opulent Russian salon, where every seat provides a unique perspective and an unforgettable experience. Dave Malloy has adapted a section of the book into a libretto, which he set to his original score that merges Russian folk and classical music with indie rock, electronica, and organ-influenced cadences.

My take: this show is an absolute experience. A rousing spectacle and party that is not to be missed. I say spectacle because it’s not only about the action on stage (which is spectacular), it’s a whole experience. From the moment you walk into the theater its immersive. It’s at the same time whimsical and serious, tongue in cheek and emotional.

I am obsessed with Josh Groban’s voice and he does not disappoint here. I just wish he sang more, because really its an ensemble piece. As much as I would wish it was a Josh concert, his fellow cast members are superb as well and contributed greatly to the experience to be had in this modern take of an opera. An opera for the 21st century. Denee Benton is sweet as Natasha and has a great voice, but I think my favorite other cast member was Lucas Steele as Anatole. He borders the line on caricature but balances himself in it so well! Is the music the best I’ve heard on stage – no. But really this show is not about that. The music is fun and serviceable for what is a wonderful staged theater party. There were three numbers that were my favorite. Of course Josh’s big solo: “Dust and Ashes” but the Overture is such a fun way to introduce the characters, and Anatole’s song, “The Abduction”where you get to interact with little egg music shakers that they give you  is the fun highlight of the night .

We sat on the stage which if you go, I would definitely recommend you do. I think that and front mezz are the best seats in the house to fully gauge the action. The show takes place on a circular setting and actions happens throughout, even in the mezz. ( I was most grateful that I had Josh Groban singing 2 meters away from me!) It was very interactive from the beginning, from walking in (videos below) to actually getting a history refresher from the Helene character along with some dumplings to be had during the show. Here are some  pictures of the fabulous redesigned theater and on stage seating:

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How can you not love a coctail table and  a drink whilst watching the show

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The chandeliers (which doubled as the comet) were to die for

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Here are some videos of the production from the website…

… and some of our videos (video credit to the Juli :))  – a tour of the entrance to the stage as well as the stage seating

 

 

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