Letters Lyrics The Great Comet
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February 4 What About Pierre?: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Letters Lyrics The Great Comet
Set in 19th-century Russia, one of the most beloved modern musicals, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet Company of 1812, writes “Letters” and “Andrei is not here” – but that’s not all.
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The iconic electropop opera received positive reviews during its first Off-Broadway run, making its eventual transfer inevitable. You might think you know everything about the 2017 Tony nominee by Dave Malloy, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Here are some fun facts about this spectacular show:
1. At first, Dave Malloy thought the producers would “shut down the idea” because it’s a weird pop opera based on 70 pages of Leo Tolstoy’s novel (Volume 2, Part 5, to be exact).
. At first it may have seemed that this idea would not work – but as we can see now, it did. (source)
2. Before moving to Broadway, the show opened at Ars Nova, an 87-seat Hell’s Kitchen cabaret theater, before detouring to a makeshift tent in the Meatpacking District. (source)
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3. After seeing the Off-Broadway production in 2013, Josh Groban raved about it on Twitter. He was a fan first, and when he heard The Great White was coming, he approached the producers about getting a role in his Broadway debut — and was quite successful. Playing the role of Pierre was Groban’s “Childhood Dream” to be on Broadway. (source)
The Off-Broadway production was nominated for 9 Lucille Lortel Awards, winning 3. It also had Obie, Drama Desk, Drama League and Off-Broadway Alliance Award nominations (and two more wins). (source)
5. To play the lead role of Pierre, Groban had to learn to play the accordion, which he picked up on a concert tour. He took his accordion, affectionately named Olga, with him to New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and more. (source)
7. To keep the show’s intimate feel, director Rachel Chavkin transformed Broadway’s Imperial Theater into Imperial Russia, removing 200 seats to create an intimate dinner for 1,200 people that allowed the cast to roam the entire theater and make the audience feel like they were there. part of the show.
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8. The entire theater design, from the box office to the iconic lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling, can be attributed to Mimi Lien, the Tony Award winner who did away with the traditional proscenium stage. The immersive experience of the stage didn’t stop with the stage setup. The set spread to the box office, designed on the concrete walls of modern punk rock Russia. (source)
Musical rhyme. Malloy’s innovative style is fully attributed to him and sounds like never before on Broadway. (source)
Katie is pursuing a BA in Communication and Media at Montclair State University. He is a staff writer for the Montclarion newspaper and social media copywriter for the Harry Potter Alliance.
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CAMBRIDGE — Patrons walking through the doors of the American Repertory Theater’s Loeb Drama Center may feel like they’ve somehow been transported to a lavish 19th-century Russian supper club. The stage is filled with tiered red leather banquettes, cafe tables, spiral staircases and a curving runway. Thick metal chandeliers that look like exploding planets hang overhead. Red velvet curtains line the walls, hung with framed paintings evocative of Russian culture. A hideous portrait of Napoleon hides in the corner.
ART’s latest smash hit is the electro-pop musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, adapted by composer Dave Malloy from 70 pages of Leo Tolstoy’s epic Gateway to War and Peace. With its sometimes wry lyrics and eclectic score ranging from rock and electronica to Russian folk, the show debuted in New York in 2012 at the experimental performance space Ars Nova and then moved to a tent near the High Line, dubbed. Casino where dinner and drinks were served. It earned rave reviews and a lot of buzz, eventually moving to a tent near Times Square. Now ART is mounting an expanded version of “The Great Comet” to open Sunday, aiming for another commercial run, possibly on Broadway.
On the final evening, director Rachel Chavkin leads her cast of 24 in their first foray into Loeb’s space. Actors and musicians are scattered in the corners of the square and in the halls of fixed seating. A swarm of performers — some holding imaginary glasses while singing, others playing instruments — lined the runway. They perform a swirling, cheeky opening number that introduces the various characters in a dizzying torrent. “It’s a complicated Russian novel / Everyone has nine different names,” the actors sing in utter awe.
The whirlwind of heroes includes young Natasha, who after arriving in Moscow falls under the spell of the handsome Caddy Anatoli; Sonya, Natasha’s loyal cousin and friend; Marya D, Grand Dame of Moscow and Natasha’s godmother; and the wealthy misanthrope Pierre, a bewildered drunk whose heart has been hardened by years of unhappy marriages and bitter regrets.
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The challenge for Chavkin and choreographer Sam Pinkleton is to imagine the play for a larger venue while maintaining the intimacy of the original, in which characters often wandered around audience members’ tables, talking directly to them and even handing out love letters. They must also ensure that the characters and moments are not lost as they unfold in the vast playing space created by MacArthur’s fellow “genius” Mimi Lien.
“It was a great problem-solving moment for us to essentially prove that the show could work in this expanded environment,” says Chavkin. “My music director came up to me after the first act, and he was like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t think I’d say this, but it’s better. It’s more understandable”. The intimate space of the tent was great, and I think we’ve kept that quality while giving the audience space to play and be easier to understand.”
When “The Great Comet” moved from the Ars Nova space to the casino, Malloy says the creative team feared losing the show’s intimate quality by doubling the size of the venue.
“If anything it’s just become more lush and extravagant and elegant and beautiful. So it’s just another step up from that.” Plus, Malloy adds with a laugh, “It’s ‘War and Peace.’ It’s epic. So the zoom really makes a lot of sense.”
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The cast grew from 16 to 24, including a roving group of singer-musicians playing accordion, clarinet, violin and viola. The orchestra has also grown and is spread across the stage. “There are more people to spread,” says Malloy. “So hopefully everyone will have some kind of one-on-one connection.”
To enhance the feeling of intimacy, the actors will appear throughout the theater and the scenes will be placed on several small platforms mounted on part of the permanent fixed location. Chavkin indicates a transgression of the show’s boundaries when Natasha, after receiving a compliment, turns directly to an audience member and remarks, “I’m blushing happily.”
“I talk about these as ‘Dear Diary’ moments,” Chavkin explains. We want all audiences to have this experience because it is closely related to the experience of reading a novel.
A larger venue also takes more of a toll on performers, both physically and mentally. Lucas Steele, who is in his fourth round as Anatole, says the show has really strengthened his skills as a performer.
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“You have to be committed to your scene partner, to the act you’re playing, and to be hyper-aware of what’s going on around you, because you don’t want to trip someone or drop a drink. Your mind is really in five or six different places at once,” Steele says.
It’s also a great cardio workout, says Dane Benton, who plays Natasha. “We just run and sing and jump down stairs and up platforms. I really want to wear a Fitbit at some point and see how many miles we run and how many calories we burn.”
The idea for the show came when Malloy was working as a piano player on a cruise ship. He had a lot of free time and his lover was back on earth. “So one of the things we decided to do to keep in touch was to read War and Peace together and then talk on the phone or email.