Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 is the name of the new musical theatrical experience we saw Wednesday night that is as ambitious as its long title would suggest!
It might be a tad too ambitious, but better aim high than for the lowest common denominator!
The show is not quite a musical and not quite an opera. It's a hybrid of both.
Unlike your traditional musical, Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 is completely sung-through, without any dialogue.
Unlike the new Anna Nicole Smith opera we saw earlier this fall, Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 is not sung in operatic style. Instead it sung in the style of musical theater.
However, the big crux of the show is that instead of getting a bunch of great songs, we have a bunch of great musical moments that are burdened with SO MUCH EXPOSITION!
Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 attempts to distill 100 pages of Tolstoy's epic War And Peace into a two act immersive musical experience.
This is dinner theater done right!
The show is presented at Kazino supper club in the heart of the theater district and Rachel Chavkin has done a thrilling job of directing this lofty new work.
It is compelling from start to finish, if a bit cumbersome at times.
Phillipa Soo is stunning as the lead heroine, Natasha. And Brittain Ashford is also quite moving as Sonya.
The entire cast gives solid performances and we love the blind casting. However, Lucas Steele was woefully miscast. He's VERY PRETTY and has an equally pretty voice, but his character is supposed to be masculine and manly. Steele's twink demeanor and equally twinkish portroyal of Anatole, the lead love interest, definitely took away from the experience.
The real standout of the show, though, is Dave Malloy, who wrote the music and lyrics as well as orchestrated the show. EVERY SINGLE musical moment was good! We just wish some of these felt more like songs than just dialogue set to music.
We are sooooooooo looking forward to see what Malloy does next! He is clearly phenomenally talented!
This production reminded us a lot of Once meets Rent, and we think it would be phenomenal if the Jonathan Larson musical played Kazino next and Chavkin did her magic to immersify and reconfigure the iconic musical from the '90s!