Great Comet today!
I had the incredible pleasure of seeing Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet today, and wow. Just wow. What a fun, charming, moving, immersive and incredible show. I’ve never seen anything like it.
To start, I had Dave Malloy as Pierre because this week he is taking the role, and I couldn’t be more happy to see the original actor who’s character I fell in love with in the title role! I feel like the original cast album doesn’t capture how great of an actor he is, how well he captivates and fills the room. And hearing him sing Dust and Ashes, which isn’t on the original album- so awe inducing. That man is brilliant for writing the show and all the better for being able to star in it as well.
Then, of course, Denee Benton. Honestly, I had always liked Phillipa Soo’s Natasha so much and I sometimes had trouble listening to Denee’s interpretation on the OBC recording. But tonight completely changed my view of that. The way she captured the torment of a challenged young girl with her changes in tone, her body language, her eye contact, it was all perfect. And she is so beautiful, especially in the white fur coat in No One Else. I wish I could say more about No One Else but I cried through the entire song so it’s all a blur. I cried through most of the show, actually.
Okay so Anatole. We did not have Lucas Steele and my sister and I were so sad at first because we’ve heard such great things about him. Instead we had Blaine Krauss and holy craaaap are we glad we did! Blaine Krauss’ Anatole was so nuanced. He made the audience fall in love with the character that is so easy to loathe. Anatole is not a good guy. But Blaine was sometimes bouncy, sometimes sexy, sometimes devilish, and every version of Anatole was so desirable. And he really is as handsome up close as at a distance, by the way. So Blaine Krauss deserves a lot more credit, and I’m sure that he just followed the footsteps of Lucas Steele a lot of the time, but he also exuded his own personal charisma and swagger that definitely deserve attention.
Amber Gray and Grace McLean are the true queens of Broadway and deserved Tony noms and I will never stop saying thAT they’re brilliant they’re radiant they’re chill inducing they’re perfect end of story.
Ingrid Michaelson- ehhh. I feel like she really just copied Brittain Ashford’s Sonya and didn’t add anything of her own. I didn’t get any nuisances of Michaelson’s personality or character, it felt plain to be honest. I missed Ashford.
Gelsey Bell was fantastic as Princess Mary! And Nick Choksi has Dolokhov was so charming and fun! and Nicholas Belton was great too!! They have much less singing than the rest of the cast but they definitely stood out when they did have songs. Actually let’s talk about Belton’s Andrey. I really loved how stoic he was, and how heartbroken he seemed when Natasha cheated. You don’t get all that emotion on the soundtrack and it was really appreciated. But possibly my favorite part of the staging is how he shows up consistently throughout the show. For instance, in the opening number, as Pierre is doing the very first verse, Andrey is going off to war and gives Natasha a necklace, as she shrieks and runs after him. No One Else; Andrey stands reading a note in the moonlight as snow falls on him, and Natasha is singing to him/about him. Then, whereas at first Natasha was beckoning to him and wanting his attention, she slowly starts forgetting him and ignoring him as he show goes on. In The Ball, he is wearing a mask and beckoning to her, she takes his hand and drops it. In Sonya Alone, she walks right past him strumming a guitar on the staircase. It really shows how Natasha’s thought process is changing through out the show it’s very insightful and beautiful.
OH and the musicians!! Everywhere!! Playing instruments and dancing and singing right on stage!! Absolutely fantastic and soo so so talented. Everything about the show was fantastic. And the immersive theater was just wow. Even the dumplings they handed out were tasty. I can’t say enough praise for this show. Thank you Dave Malloy for your work of art, and thank you to all the actors for bringing it to life.