"If only for a while to know you're there," you must stop by the Imperial Theatre on 47th in the Theatre District, home to one of Broadway's most anticipated musical transfers of the season: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.
"Forgive me if I slip away" into my own narrative, but "sometimes it's hard to find my ground" as a writer.
The show, directed by Rachel Chavkin with music, lyrics, and book by Dave Malloy, opened on Broadway on November 14th to rave reviews.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times calling it, “Both the most innovative and the best new musical to open on Broadway since Hamilton.”
Naturally, we have our own take on the musical, too—comprised mostly through Josh Groban lyrics.
Go check out this outstanding work of theatre.
"Until you come and sit awhile"
As an audience member, you must first pass through a maze of period-perfect, Russian propaganda-stricken grey walls strewn throughout the theatre.
The show begins with a cool, long accordion tone, ushering in the cast onstage for the opening number, “Prologue.”
For the ensemble, "each restless heart beats so imperfectly" yet shockingly in step. Music director, Or Matias, maintains his collective heartbeat at center stage of the Imperial's pseudo-theatre-in-the-round staging with poignant, heated movement.
The transporting nature of the musical is "brave," to say the least.
The stark contrast of the show's entrance to the actual house itself harkens to director Rachel Chavkin's ingenious storytelling and, upon finding your seat, may have you questioning, "How did I ever fade into this life?"
Groban's Pierre, played Off-Broadway by Dave Malloy, David Abeles, and Scott Stangland, is like "an old friend, gone away" in your distant memory.
He's stern, yet warm during songs like "Dust and Ashes" and "Pierre & Natasha."
"I keep on falling as I'm trying to” understand why Groban has yet to make his Broadway debut; his commanding presence and fluid vocals are “more than just enough."
Denée Benton stuns as title character Natasha, and Grace McLean earns a special shoutout for her powerhouse vocals during “In My House.”
“One truth always stays the same,” however, about a single actor: Lucas Steele. Steele originated the role of Anatole, the suave and seductive suitor, pinning for Natasha’s hand.
After winning a Lucille Lortel Award for this dashing interpretation of the novel character, Steele “will defy explanation” as he flourishes in the run of this show, solidifying his Broadway debut.
"A beautiful and blinding" moment occurs in the show's final flourish with the appearance of the actual Great Comet of 1812.
When Groban steps out in his Russian, fur coat, his eyes convey an almost dichotomous sadness and enlightenment as he hears the melody that's playing from within the circular orchestra pit.
With a grandiose culmination, Groban "gazes up beyond the distant star," culminating the prior two and a half hours in one primal, tender moment between the audience and the leading player onstage.
"If I could make these moments endless," I would buy a permanent house seat at the Imperial Theatre.
Until that day, "we'll let tomorrow wait, and "I'll cherish all that [this impeccable cast] gave me."[Feature Image Courtesy Hollywood Reporter]