According to the New York Times, Groban will play Pierre, the role that was originated by the show's writer, Dave Malloy. Malloy said that sections of the score will be expanded for Groban and that a new song, "Dust and Ashes," has been written for his character.
A September Broadway arrival is expected. Rachel Chavkin directs the musical that premiered Off-Broadway at Ars Nova in 2012. Great Comet was then re-staged in an opulent supper club tent built especially to house the immersive production. A new incarnation of the musical was reimagined for a proscenium setting that debuted last week at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. To capture the experience of the original, additional playing spaces were created throughout the theatre, with banquettes and dining tables added. Groban is not involved in the A.R.T. staging.
MacArthur "Genius Grant" winner Mimi Lien is the show's set designer. Groban, a self-proclaimed theatre lover whose latest album "Stages" is dedicated to musical theatre songs, said he was drawn to the role after seeing the Off-Broadway production of Great Comet in 2013.
Just saw "Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812". One of my most favorite theatrical experiences ever. LOVED. pic.twitter.com/d1qOsiaV5d
— josh groban (@joshgroban) July 19, 2013
When previously asked by Playbill.com if he would consider making the leap to Broadway, Groban said, "I would want it to be for the right reasons at the right time, and I would want to be able to dedicate myself to it and do it for an extended period of time and not do it just for two weeks."
The show's producers told the Times that Groban had made a "substantial time commitment" to the Broadway transfer.
A Broadway transfer of the production has been expected. Howard and Janet Kagan, who produced the recent Broadway revival of On the Town, are ushering Great Comet to Broadway following the latest incarnation of the show at A.R.T. The producers were also attached to Great Comet's Off-Broadway staging. Paula Marie Black joins them as producer. The Kagans were also part of the producing team on the Tony-winning revival of Pippin that was developed at A.R.T. before its Broadway introduction.
Further casting was not revealed. Several members of the original Off-Broadway cast are part of the latest A.R.T. incarnation. Phillipa Soo, who created the role of Natasha Off-Broadway, currently stars as Eliza Hamilton in the Broadway hit Hamilton.
A cast album preserves the original Off-Broadway production.
The production has choreography by Sam Pinkleton, costume design by Paloma Young, lighting design by Bradley King and sound design by Matthew Hubbs. Casting is by Stewart/Whitley.
"Step into a glamorous, romantic world of chandeliers, vodka and caviar in the salons and opera houses of 19th century Moscow," state press notes from A.R.T. "Where passions ignite as Napoleon’s war rages outside the city...This new musical brings to life the heart of literature’s most epic tale of love and fate."
Great Comet opens at A.R.T. Dec. 16 and is scheduled to run through Jan. 3, 2016, at the Loeb Drama Center.