Josh Groban Makes Broadway Debut in The Great Comet, Opening Tonight | Playbill

News Josh Groban Makes Broadway Debut in The Great Comet, Opening Tonight The new immersive musical, which co-stars Denée Benton, plays the Imperial Theatre.
Josh Groban and the cast Chad Batka
The Broadway bow of the new musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 officially opens November 14 at 6 PM following previews that began October 18 at the Imperial Theatre. Read critics' reviews here.

Josh Groban and Denée Benton Chad Batka
The unconventional production, which dazzled critics and audiences Off-Broadway, has completely transformed the Imperial Theatre into an opulent Russian salon that engulfs the audience. The unique seating chart can be viewed here.

Created by Dave Malloy (Ghost Quartet, Preludes) and directed by Rachel Chavkin, the cast is headed by Josh Groban as Pierre and Denée Benton as Natasha.

The cast and creative team joined Playbill live from the red carpet after their opening night performance to share their reactions and reveal insider knowledge about the critically acclaimed show. Watch the exclusive video here.

“I Never Fit In,” Says Josh Groban On the Key to His Success

The duo, who are both making their Broadway debuts, are joined by Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Gelsey Bell as Princess Mary, Nicholas Belton as Bolkonsky/Andrey, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov, Amber Gray as Helene, Grace McLean as Marya D, Paul Pinto as Balaga, Scott Stangland as Pierre (standby), and Lucas Steele as Anatole. The ensemble includes Sumayya Ali, Courtney Bassett, Josh Canfield, Ken Clark, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Nick Gaswirth, Alex Gibson, Billy Joe Kiessling, Mary Spencer Knapp, Reed Luplau, Brandt Martinez, Andrew Mayer, Azudi Onyejekwe, Pearl Rhein, Heath Saunders, Ani Taj, Cathryn Wake, Katrina Yaukey, and Lauren Zakrin.

During previews, the new musical made headlines when a private dispute between producer Howard Kagan and Ars Nova, where The Great Comet was originally developed, went public. The dispute concerned how Ars Nova would be billed in the musical's Playbill. The problem has since been resolved, and a temporary insert indicating the correct billing is included in the Playbill. Read more about it here.

The Great Comet, according to press notes, is described as “a theatrical experience like no other. Malloy’s inspired adaptation of a 70-page slice of War and Peace puts audiences just inches away from Tolstoy’s brash young lovers, as they light up Moscow in an epic tale of romance and passion.”

The new musical features choreography by Sam Pinkleton, set design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Tony Award winner Paloma Young, lighting design by Bradley King, sound design by Nicholas Pope, music supervision by Sonny Paladino, musical direction by Or Matias, casting by Stewart/Whitley, and production stage management by Karyn Meek.

The production boasts the Broadway debuts of 24 cast and creative team members.

A Comet Strikes! Dave Malloy and Rachel Chavkin Create 19th-Century Russia in Natasha, Pierre

Flip through 14 production photos below:

Take a Look at Josh Groban and Denée Benton in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

The Great Comet was commissioned and developed at Ars Nova in NYC, where it had its world premiere in fall 2012 and was soon after transferred to a custom-built venue in the Meatpacking District for the summer of 2013. The show became a hit, and the entire venue was transferred to the theatre district, where it continued its run into the spring of 2014. The musical recently played a limited engagement at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, where its innovative design was expanded to bring the show’s signature staging to a traditional proscenium-style theatre.

The Broadway production is produced by Howard & Janet Kagan and Paula Marie Black.

Tickets are available via or by visiting the Imperial Theatre box office (249 West 45th Street).

(Updated November 14, 2016)
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