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.
MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ winner Mimi Lien is the show's set designer.
Returning to the production are Nicholas Belton as Andrey, Lucas Steele as Anatole, Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov and Grace McLean as Marya.
Performances will run through Jan. 3, 2016, at the Loeb Drama Center. The cast also features new additions Denèe Benton (national tour of The Book of Mormon) as Natasha (originally played by Hamilton's Phillipa Soo), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening) as Hélène and Scott Stangland (Once) as Pierre, who will perform among the audience in this immersive staging. Visit A.R.T for more information on how to purchase tickets.
Casting is rounded out by Gelsey Bell and Paul Pinto. The ensemble is composed of Courtney Bassett, Josh Canfield, Ken Clark, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall (who played Hélène in the original), Ashley Perez Flanagan, Nick Gaswirth, Azudi Onyejekweb (also featured in the original ensemble), Heath Saunders, Lauren Zakrin (featured in the original ensemble) and Katrina Yaukey.
Malloy's The Great Comet is based on a 70-page slice of Leo Tolstoy's epic novel "War and Peace." "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."
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.
Natasha Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 premiered at Ars Nova in 2012 where it garnered critical acclaim. The show transferred to the Kazino — a supper club-style venue created specifically for the show that immerses audiences in the experience — in May 2013. It played its final performance there March 2, 2014.
Playbill.com announced earlier in 2015 that producers Howard and Janet Kagan were eyeing a Broadway run, though no official announcement has been made. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 was co-produced by Paula Marie Black, John Logan, Lisa Matlin, Daveed Frazier, Tom Smedes and Vertical Entertainment/Roman Gambourg/Lev Gelfer.
A feature-film adaptation of the musical was in the works (with the help of a Kickstarter campaign), but plans fell through when the Kickstarter did not reach its $250,000 goal.