Fans of the interactive musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 wondered how the upcoming Broadway production at the Imperial Theatre would match the highly unusual stage arrangement of its original 2012 Off-Broadway run, during which the show was performed on runways and platforms interspersed among audience members seated at tables.
The show’s Broadway seating chart released over the weekend answers the question. The show will be staged in what used to be the front orchestra, in which rows have been removed and tables with chairs put in their place. The rear orchestra will be bisected by a curving runway that actors will use for entrances and exits. What used to be the stage will be filled with seating. There will also be two performance platforms on the mezzanine level.
The last time a standard proscenium Broadway house was this extensively rearranged was the 1974 revival of Candide at the Broadway Theatre, which also relocated the action to what once was the middle of the orchestra. The 2014 musical Rocky covered the front orchestra with a movable boxing ring for its climactic fight match.
The musical, which had a successful Off-Broadway run in 2012, is scheduled to start Broadway previews October 18 and open November 14 at the Imperial Theatre. The Broadway house is currently home to the revival of Les Miserables, which is scheduled to conclude its run in September.
The cast of Natasha will be headed by Grammy nominee Josh Groban, who will be making his Broadway debut as Pierre. The acclaimed singer will be joined by Denée Benton, who will also be making her Broadway debut. Benton will reprise the role of Natasha that she played in the recent engagement of the musical at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge.
The rest of cast will consist of the folowing. An asterisk indicates a Broadway debut: Brittain Ashford* as Sonya, Gelsey Bell* as Princess Mary, Nicholas Belton as Bolkonsky/Andrey, Nick Choksi* as Dolokhov, Amber Gray* as Helene, Grace McLean* as Marya D, Paul Pinto* as Balaga, Scott Stangland as Pierre (standby) and Lucas Steele as Anatole.
Must See! Drink In the Intoxicating First Pics of the New Proscenium Re-Invention of Great Comet of 1812
The ensemble includes Sumayya Ali, Courtney Bassett*, Josh Canfield, Ken Clark*, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall, Ashley Pérez Flanagan*, Nick Gaswirth, Azudi Onyejekwe, Pearl Rhein*, Heath Saunders*, Katrina Yaukey and Lauren Zakrin.
The Great Comet is billed as a “theatrical experience like no other. Malloy’s inspired adaptation of a 70-page slice of War and Peace puts audiences just inches away from Tolstoy’s brash young lovers, as they light up Moscow in an epic tale of romance and passion.”
Listen to Groban sing part of the opening number below:
— The Great Comet (@GreatCometBway) March 7, 2016
The show has book, music and lyrics by Dave Malloy and is directed by Rachel Chavkin. Casting is by Stewart/Whitley. The show premiered in New York at Ars Nova Theatre Off-Broadway in 2012, and moved first to a tent in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan in May 2013, and then the tented production moved to a vacant lot in the Times Square theatre district later in 2013. In 2015 the show was restaged at American Repertory Theatre in Boston, expanding the show’s signature intimate staging to a traditional proscenium-style theatre.
The musical will be produced on Broadway by Howard & Janet Kagan and Paula Marie Black.
For more information visit Greatcometbroadway.com.