25 DAYS OF TONYS: How The Great Comet Team Created a Unified Vision for the Best Musical Nominee

Tony Awards   25 DAYS OF TONYS: How The Great Comet Team Created a Unified Vision for the Best Musical Nominee Josh Groban, director Rachel Chavkin, and more Great Comet creators talk about their 12-time Tony-nominated show.

“The best part of the nominations yesterday was my whole team, our whole team, getting recognized,” Great Comet director Rachel Chavkin told Playbill the day after nominations were announced.

With 12 Tony nominations, The Great Comet is the most nominated show of the 2016–2017 season, including nods for Score, Book, Leading Actor, Leading Actress, Supporting Actor, the creative disciplines, and Best Musical.

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All of the Tony-nominated designers relished their roles as part of the collaborative team that worked towards a single vision. As Tony-nominated costume designer Paloma Young said, her job is “to make the audience feel what our main characters are feeling. Our ensemble serves as a chorus that points us towards our core characters, Natasha, Pierre, Helene, Anatole.”

“I think of it as providing the envelope of the play, both physically and emotionally and tonally,” says Tony-nominated scenic designer Mimi Lien of her contribution. And Tony-nominated lighting designer Bradley King says that while he certainly provides the light for the titular comet, his most important duty is telling people where to look during the fully immersive production staged in the Imperial Theatre.

For all the boundary-breaking design elements, the story and music at the core of the production are also unlike any Broadway audiences have heard before. “Great Comet has a pretty eclectic score, which really just reflects Tolstoy’s pretty eclectic novel,” says writer, composer, and lyricist Dave Malloy. “War and Peace is a novel full of characters from every aspect of Russian culture, so in bringing that culture into 21st century New York City and and 21st century America, I wanted to use every style of music that was available to me to reflect these different characters.”

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