Following an immersive Off-Broadway debut at Ars Nova in 2012, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 returned in May 2013—staged in an opulent supper club “tent.”
The Broadway production, which is based on a recent re-imagining of the musical at the American Repertory Theater (a staging that allowed the show to inhabit a traditional theatre), will extend beyond the stage and into the seating area of the Imperial Theatre, which has been significantly altered for the immersive Russian electro-pop opera based on a passage from War and Peace.
Rachel Chavkin directs the musical written by Dave Malloy. Scenic designer Mimi Lien has been tasked with the imaginative transformation of the Imperial.
Variety reports that the Imperial’s lobby will be redesigned to look like a nightclub created from an old Cold War-era bunker. Audiences will also enter the theatre in a non-traditional way. Various entries and pathways have been created to give theatregoers their own unique journey to their seats. Onstage ticketholders will enter through the former coat room of the Imperial, which will take them down a hallway through a hidden vestibule that ultimately has them enter the auditorium through large upstage doors.
Akin to the Off-Broadway production, audience members will be seated on plush banquettes, armchairs and café tables throughout the theatre. The dazzling redesign, which places the audience in the middle of the action with the cast and musicians surrounding them, has reduced the Imperial’s seating from 1,400 to roughly 1,200.