On Stage with The Great Comet

The Great Comet: Re-watched the show and finally experienced its true magic!!! More more more! I want to go back again already.

I got my onstage seating this afternoon. Center table. Frontmost chair. First audience member behind Pierre’s Study. I was literally in the spotlight as it shined on Pierre and Natasha who stood inches away from me.

Love love love the immersive and interactive experience.

Playboy Anatole toys with Natasha, turns around, leans into our table, and makes a face to let us know what he really wants from the young girl. Natasha looks us in the eyes, as she sings and pours her heart out. Violinist plays to our table. We scream at the top of our lungs and cheer on the dancers in Balaga.

Absolutely love the story and the cast’s performance.

Denée Benton is incredible as she draws us into young Natasha’s mind: her insatiable desire for love and attention, her conflicting sense of responsibility and pleasure, and her eventual sadness and regret.

Josh Groban perfectly delivers “Dust and Ashes” and “Pierre and Natasha” to capture the sentiment of two acts. The hopeless loveless marriage that has entrapped Pierre, and the same reckless careless attitude that brought down Natasha too. Yet, despite their sorry states, Pierre comforts Natasha and she returns one last grateful glance. In that moment, Pierre understands that perhaps, just perhaps, love will come again.

Lucas Steele is even more exuberant and flamboyant as Anatole today.

Ashley Pérez Flanagan, understudy for Sonya, beautifully delivers another one of my favorite songs, “Sonya Alone”. Ashley perfectly captures Sonya’s difficult distressing choice to remain a true friend to Natasha by turning against her, in the hopes that someday Natasha will forgive her. The song is a major turning point in the story. Bravos for the wonderful performance and nailing the transition.

Finally, lighting and scene designs are even more amazing seen from onstage.

All the table lamps placed throughout the orchestra and balcony respond to the story, lighting up the audience’s faces as part of the scene design. Wow!

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

An extravaganza this afternoon with Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812.

So what does a show with 12 Tony nominations look like? Well, for one, the entire theater is the stage. No matter where you sit, you will come within a few feet away from the performers. (I’m in rear mezz today and have on-stage seating next week.)

Lighting, costumes, scene design, and the interactive atmosphere are all super unique and unlike anything else. Love the choreographies especially ones where the cast sprawl across the entire theater. Kudos to the ensemble member who barrel rolls his way around the entire center stage. I hope the show wins in these categories! (Well, you also can’t top the tap dancing in Holiday Inn, another nominee for choreography.)

The cast and band members are scattered, often singing and playing their instruments as they climb up and down between the stage, orchestra, and the balcony. We got to interact with the band! While original, the acoustics inevitably suffer. I find it difficult to understand parts of the play, especially with characters who don’t speak loud enough.

The most surprising of all, however, is how small a part the two lead characters have in the show. Both are nominated for the Tonys, but we were genuinely confused whether Pierre or Anatole was the lead actor. (Josh Groban didn’t appear today. Hope to catch him next week, but I’m talking about the characters’ roles here.)

On the other hand, love Lucas Steele as Anatole and Brittain Ashford as Sonya!