What’s Going On Inside The Great Comet Rehearsal Room?

Outside the Theatre   What’s Going On Inside The Great Comet Rehearsal Room? Ensemble member Andrew Mayer opens up about making his Broadway debut and gives us a sneak peek into rehearsals.
Andrew Mayer
Andrew Mayer Monica Simoes
Andrew Mayer
Andrew Mayer Monica Simoes

Who: Andrew Mayer
Outside: The Imperial Theatre on West 45th Street

I know you’re in rehearsals right now for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812—what can you tell me about it?
To say it’s a dream is an understatement, that’s for sure. I’ve been working towards a goal like this for pretty much my whole life. To finally be here and doing it... It’s no easier than I thought it would be. This show is a lot of work because I’m also playing an instrument—the violin—while singing and moving. It’s a challenge, but a very welcome one.

Is this your Broadway debut?
It is! And to be an originating member of the cast of a new show is the ideal for me.

Were you with the show prior to it coming to Broadway?
I’m a new member of the cast, so I felt a little like the new kid in school. But immediately, everybody was very welcoming and warm. I’m looking forward to cultivating that sense of ensemble energy. [This show] is way more than I imagined it was going to be! When they showed us what they’re doing here [at the theatre]—what they’re building—I thought it was going to be a lot, but this is way more. That’s made me more excited.

I think a lot of people are excited about this show because it thinks outside of traditional theatrical forms. Do you get a sense of that while in rehearsals?
Definitely… Just by looking at the seating chart, you can see it’s [designed to be] a completely different space [from] a usual Broadway house. Getting to rehearse that is a very different experience. It’s a good challenge!

How did your friends and family react when you told them you were making your Broadway debut?
It felt a little like a movie scene. I was in Texas visiting some family that I hadn’t seen in 13 years—I was there for my grandfather’s 90th birthday. My agent called me the second day I was there and told me that I’d booked this, so literally my whole family was there to celebrate. I came down the stairs with the news; it was the most surreal thing. We were all nursing our hangovers but had to break out more champagne.

You mentioned you play an instrument in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. Are you also a musician?
Yes. I’m part of a group in New York City called The Michael Hart Band. We do a lot of events in the city—that’s my day job. When I’m not acting I’m doing that, and when I am acting, I get to focus on that. I also do a lot of fight choreography for both screen and stage.

Do you think it’s important to be able to juggle multiple skill sets?
A lot of people talk about being a triple threat, but with my friends, we joke about needing to be a quadruple threat—because now you need to play an instrument as well as dance, sing and act. I think the more skills that you can bring to the table, the better. It makes you more creative in the room and more useful to the process.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 begins previews at the Imperial Theatre on October 18 and will officially open November 14.