My boyfriend and his father scored us remarkable tickets on stage at the Imperial Theatre to see Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.
The Tony nominated musical is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s 1,225-page Russian novel, War and Peace. Created by Dave Malloy and directed by Rachel Chavkin, the cast is headed by Josh Groban as Pierre and Denée Benton as Natasha.
Under the brilliance of set designer Mimi Lien, the Imperial has transformed into an opulent Russian salon that engulfs the audience.
The story follows Natasha (Denée Benton), a young aristocrat visiting Moscow while she waits for her fiancée Andrey (Nicholas Belton) to return from the war. In a moment of indiscretion, she is seduced by the dashing (but already married) Anatole (Lucas Steele) 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 resurrection of his own soul.
So what makes the score so enchanting?
“Like the greatest works of art, this one leaves you feeling privileged to have experienced it — and eager to reenter its world again very soon.” – Christopher Kelly (Star-Ledger)
1. Every song is a jam
It’s no surprise that Great Comet, carefully crafted by mastermind Dave Malloy, has 12 Tony nominations to its name.
Prediction? Best orchestrations and original score.
2. The recording lends you the full story
Like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Rent, the rock-opera is almost completely sung through. I heard through word of mouth that the show would be difficult to follow if I didn’t know the backstory, but I promise they do all the work for you!
“Gonna have to do a bit of studying if you wanna keep with the plot, ’cause it’s a complicated Russian novel. Everyone’s got nine different names.” – ‘Prologue’ of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
3. Tony-Nominee Josh Groban makes his Broadway debut
Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Josh Groban makes his Broadway debut… and with a subtle Tony nomination. He portrays the generous but miserable Pierre, confounded by his inability to connect with others.
The last time Groban was in a musical?
He played Tevye in his high school’s production of in Fiddler on the Roof.
4. Tony-Nominee Lucas Steele is David Bowie reincarnated
As the hot Russian playboy Anatole, Lucas Steele vocally and physically pays homage to the late David Bowie. The two bear a striking resemblance.
Lucas Steele is “so wickedly sexy that he should be arrested” – David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
5. Amber Gray’s chilling voice channels the late Amy Winehouse
One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Charming,” performed by Broadway new-comer Amber Gray as the sultry Hélène Kuragin.
Hélène is Anatole’s sister and Pierre’s not so loyal wife who enjoys romancing other men and manipulating others for pleasure.
6. Tony-Nominee Denée Benton as Natasha is enchanting
Fresh face Denée Benton (Carnegie Mellon grad!) has the vocal chops to master both the classical soprano and gritty beltress.
Here we get a glimpse of the charming young Natasha, a vivacious spirit plagued with innocence.
7. Brittain Ashford floats through the score like a young Joni Mitchell
I would see Great Comet 10 times more for Brittain Ashford’s poignant rendition of “Sonya Alone.”
8. Raw melodies mix with experimental orchestrations
Great Comet’s groundbreaking score mixes rock, pop, soul, folk and electronic dance music with classic Broadway.
I leave you with the SAVAGE vocals of Grace Mclean as Natasha’s old-school Russian godmother, Marya Dmitryevna.
Enjoy the ride!
You’ll thank me later.