Film Plans for Dave Malloy's Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Postponed

By Michael Gioia
03 Mar 2014

Phillipa Soo
Phillipa Soo
Photo by Chad Batka

Film plans for Off-Broadway's Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 — Dave Malloy's electropop opera, based on a slice of the epic novel "War and Peace," that played its final performance March 2 at Kazino — have been postponed, Playbill.com has learned. 

Representatives for the production said in a statement, "We are so appreciative of the fans who supported the film of The Great Comet. While we remain excited at the prospect of capturing The Great Comet on film, the coordination of shooting schedules at this time proved extremely difficult. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the film plans until a later date. Any pledges by our backers on our Kickstarter campaign will not be used."

As previously reported, producers of the production were planning a feature-film adaptation of the musical with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. The film's Kickstarter, which aimed to raise $250,000, was capped March 2 at $37,889. (If funding through Kickstarter is unsuccessful by the campaign's cutoff date, money pledged is not used.) 

Independent film director Abe Sylvia ("Nurse Jackie") was attached to helm the feature, which aimed to capture the immersive experience of Natasha, Pierre... by being part HD live recording, part concert film, part feature film and part music video.



The Comet producers, Howard and Janet Kagan, would have utilized the existing elements housed at Kazino. Movie production was scheduled to begin following the show's final performance, and most or all of the current cast would reprise their roles.

The production was originally scheduled to play a 14-week limited engagement through Dec. 31, 2013.

Read the recent Playbill magazine feature with creator Malloy and director Rachel Chavkin.

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The opulent Kazino was first constructed in the Meatpacking disctict for a summer run of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. The show's lead producers, Howard and Janet Kagan, moved the production to the Times Square theatre district (at West 45th Street between Times Square and 8th Avenue) for a limited engagement that began Sept. 27, 2013.

The piece is the recipient of the 2013 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater. Critics praised the production. Read their reviews here. Director Rachel Chavkin, who staged the ambitious work at Ars Nova, again directs with choreography by Sam Pinkleton. 

The cast featured David Abeles as Pierre, Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Blake DeLong as Bolkonsky/Andrey, Amber Gray as Hélène, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov, Grace McLean as Marya D, Ashkon Davaran as Balaga, Phillipa Soo as Natasha, Lucas Steele as Anatole and Katrina Yaukey as Princess Mary. The cast also includes Catherine Brookman, Josh Canfield, Ken Clark, Lulu Fall, Luke Holloway, Azudi Onyejekwe, Mariand Torres and Lauren Zakrin.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, according to producers, "invites you to join Tolstoy's brash young lovers for an evening you'll never forget, as vodka flows and passions ignite in Dave Malloy's electropop opera, ripped from a slice of 'War and Peace.'"

A Ghostlight Records album was released in stores Dec. 10. It features a 48-page color booklet with complete lyrics, never-before-seen photos, a show synopsis and an essay by Playbill.com columnist Steven Suskin.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 was produced by Howard and Janet Kagan and co-produced by Paula Marie Black, John Logan, Lisa Matlin, Daveed Frazier, Tom Smedes, and Vertical Entertainment/Roman Gambourg/Lev Gelfer.

For more information and tickets, visit TheGreatCometOf1812.com.

PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "There's a War Goin' On..." Pre-Show Portraits With Great Comet Stars Phillipa Soo and David Abeles

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Phillipa Soo
Photo by Monica Simoes