• June 10, 2016

There is a long history of big, heavy books being taken on by courageous musical theatre writers: Les Miserables, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Little Women, and many other novels that don’t skimp on poetic detail. War and Peace is the quintessential detailed novel and it’s coming to Broadway this year in the form of a musical called Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812.

The Jist of the Thing

Great Comet at the ART.
Great Comet at the ART.

If you’ve never attempted the monstrous read that is War and Peace, here’s a summary:

Tolstoy’s War and Peace tells the story of five families struggling for survival during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a proud, dashing man who, despising the artifice of high society, joins the army to achieve glory. Badly wounded at Austerlitz, he begins to discover the emptiness of everything to which he has devoted himself. The novel’s other hero, Pierre Bezukhov, tries to find meaning in life through a series of philosophical systems that promise to resolve all questions. War and Peace is nothing more or less than a complete portrait of human existence.
A “complete portrait of human existence” seems like a pretty big mountain to climb for a modern day musical, and according to critics of the show’s most recent production at the American Repertory Theatre, that mountain stands very menacingly.

The difference with the musical seems that the central character is Natasha, Pierre’s love interest in the book played by Denee Benton. The audience is completely immersed in the production as the set design is wrapped within the seats and characters are blocked into the audience. The Boston Globe reviewed the production calling it “captivating” but stated that audience members should have an understanding of the plot before going to the show. The show is thrilling from “the moment Natasha receives an illicit love letter until Pierre’s concluding aria over a celestial wonder (…) The trouble is, that letter arrives at the top of the second act.”

Josh Groban will appear on Broadway!
Josh Groban will appear on Broadway!

Final Tweaks Before Curtain

It seems that the 1812 creative team will have more to fix before the show opens this year. Presale tickets for the previews in October became available on May 1st and can be purchased on The Comet Is Coming Website. Denee Benton will continue her place in the role as Natasha and Josh Groban will be making his Broadway debut in the role of Pierre. Go to the website to follow all social media, and enter your email for a chance to win two tickets to opening night! #TheCometIsComing

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