This week I saw Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 for the third time. The show was absolutely stunning. The actors were stellar, the staging was beautiful, and there was so much action that I missed the first two times. Even with Okierete Onaodowan helming as Pierre, replacing Josh Groban, and Ingrid Michaelson for Brittain Ashford, the show was still as stellar as it always is. Yet this time it was different. I didn't see it out of sheer want but out of respect and of importance to the show. For this could be the last time I will see it.
I say it in a dramatic and upsetting tone because the show admittedly is in jeopardy due to late breaking news. Recently, a cast issue put the entire show in jeopardy. The most diverse shows on Broadway (aside from The Lion King) is in jeopardy.
One of the most important things for a Broadway show is selling tickets to pay for the show. It is not only paying the actors, but the crew, producers, creators, designers, sponsors, and others who play major roles in the show's history. It is literally the most important thing that a show sells tickets to keep going. So sometimes calls have to be made in order to save the show, which is what happened this past weekend: and things kind of blew up. So now, while the show is scrambling to find proper footing to continue, I am urging my readers to save The Comet by seeing it now to keep the dream alive.
Comet is one of those unique shows where it takes the audience into the heat of the action. Its primarily ensemble cast (most of which of color) walks the entire stage (which expands into both the Orchestra and Mezzanine) in the first five minutes throwing pierogies at audience members getting them excited for the show. Even audience members can sit in the banquettes on the stage and get fully immersed into the action of the plot. And as soon as the accordion helmed by Pierre is played, you feel the energy being carried throughout the actors. The story may be complex, but it is so much fun to watch. The actors will dance behind you while the story progresses. And make sure you catch an egg shaker to rock out with during the show.
The most important thing about this show is that it breaks so many boundaries. In a show that takes place in nineteenth-century Russia, an African-American woman plays the lead of Natasha, a white aristocratic woman. The cast received awards for most diversity and it brings all these different styles in each performance.
That's all the technical aspects of the show, but what matters more than anything is that this show is an incredible piece of work. A story that should be told for years to come. A show that impacts the lives of fans who see it. Who use these songs in audition books and as role inspirations. A show that takes people of all orientations, races, and genders and transform them into incredible actors and actresses. So if you get a chance, go online and get a ticket. Go sit anywhere from the stage to the last row in the theatre and be prepared to see an amazing show.