Open run

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Members say: Great staging, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great singing, Clever
85
Critics
81
65 reviews
Members
85
1686 reviews
 

Inspired by a 70-page slice of Tolstoy’s 'War and Peace,' this immersive, Off-Broadway hit transfers to the Main Stem with recording star Josh Groban in his Broadway debut.

... Read more

Natasha is young, Anatole is hot, and Andrey isn't here. But what about Pierre? Natasha is a beautiful ingenue visiting Moscow while she waits for her fiancée Andrey to return from the war. In a moment of indiscretion, she is seduced by the dashing (but already married) Anatole and her life is ruined. Her only hope lies with Pierre (Groban), the lonely outsider whose love and compassion for Natasha may be the key to her redemption. Featuring a score that mixes rock, pop, soul, folk and electronic dance music with classic Broadway, 'The Great Comet' arrives on Broadway after its critically acclaimed 2013 Off-Broadway premiere. Its creative team has re-imagined the Imperial Theatre as an opulent Russian salon, where every seat provides a unique perspective.

 
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Reviews (1751)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

95
The New York Times

"Who would have guessed that Dave Malloy’s gorgeous pop opera would land on Broadway with all its signal virtues intact, and in some ways heightened?...The show remains a witty, inventive enchantment from rousing start to mournful finish...O.K., so it’s a little dense...Even if you get lost for a bit, the dazzling staging, the vivid performances and the richness of Mr. Malloy’s music will provide pleasures that go well beyond the narrative." Full Review

90
Theatermania

"The most exciting theatrical experience since 'Hamilton,' a must-see for anyone who wants a sneak peek at how Broadway will look in the coming decades...Malloy's sharp lyrics and tunefully experimental music make the occasional haziness of the book easy to forgive...'The Great Comet' is a model for how to present 21st-century theater in venues designed 100 years ago....Everyone in this cast is working hard and it pays off." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"Director Rachel Chavkin's brilliantly joyous and sneakily subversive mounting of ‘The Great Comet,’ an infectiously lively musical…Josh Groban supplies the attention-grabbing star name and does a fine job anchoring the festivities with gravitas…Denée Benton's Natasha revels in the spotlight much of the time and she reflects it luminously with a lovely voice and a glowing presence...Let this dazzling show fill your spirits all night long." Full Review

95
NY1

"Pure theatrical magic…Country aristocrat Natasha is played with sparkle and pluck by Denée Benton…Josh Groban makes a forceful and passionate Broadway debut as the dissolute Pierre...Rachel Chavkin’s breathless, immersive staging is a constant source of wonder...One of the most thrilling Broadway musicals this decade, 'The Great Comet' is intimate yet epic, ironic yet deeply felt, cosmic yet down to earth. It lights up the sky and our hearts." Full Review

90
Variety

"A luscious, 360-degree immersive experience that feels like being smothered in velvet...You really don’t want to miss a thing in this musically lush and visually opulent production...Malloy, who wrote the marvelous book, tuneful music, and smart lyrics, understands and even admires the members of this aristocratic society, who in ensemble songs reveal themselves as irresistibly charming and hopelessly corrupt." Full Review

95
Time Out New York

"Director Rachel Chavkin’s approach to the show—spectacular yet intimate, theatrical yet personal—is an ideal complement to Malloy’s brilliantly unconventional musical...In Malloy’s complex and eclectic score, lovely stand-alone songs are woven into a larger blanket of recitative and surprising combinations of content and genre...Bittersweet and joyous, artful and accessible, this is a Broadway party like no other...It’s a wonderful, soul-stirring escape." Full Review

90
The Guardian (UK)

"When the dancers are leaping, the accordions wheezing, the lights flashing, the skirts swirling, and the vodka flowing, then 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812' feels thrillingly unlike anything else on Broadway...The combinatory musical style is perhaps too eclectic, yet also undeniably invigorating – like a shot of horseradish vodka. Besides, these are rather minor quibbles when compared with the beauty of many of the songs and the excitement of the immersive staging." Full Review

75
Lighting & Sound America

"Never, ever dull...As engaging as all the color, movement, and vocal pyrotechnics can be, there is something uncertain about the piece…'The Great Comet’ is sometimes moving, sometimes electrifying, and sometimes just a bit vulgar and overreaching in its gritted-teeth determination to give the audience a good time…As it is, it's prone to rather giddy mood shifts that sometimes undermine the story it is trying to tell. Make no mistake, however -- this is a wild, rollicking circus of a show." Full Review

90
DC Theatre Scene

"Extraordinary, the freshest, most inviting show on Broadway this season. 'Great Comet' is awesome in its stagecraft, in its music, and in its performances...Director Rachel Chavkin and set designer Mimi Lien in particular deserve kudos for staging on Broadway something very close to the kind of immersive theater that’s lately been intriguing theatergoers all over the world – everywhere but Broadway, until now." Full Review

70
Cultural Weekly

"Set designer Lien has done her best to recreate the atmosphere of a Russian dinner club, but the experience is much less intimate...The musical’s delicate closing moments brought me to tears Off-Broadway, but here I just admired the stagecraft...Groban exhibits a magnificent voice, but lacks the depth to fully inhabit the role. Benton’s Natasha is charming and bubbly yet when her liaison with Anatole is shattered, she fails to move us." Full Review

65
Front Row Center

"The talent here is mighty. Across the board. The story, however, could have been condensed into a tight 90-minute extravaganza. As it is, the themes are repeated over and over and over–and not in nuanced ways. Repetition overcomes talent as well as spectacle and wears the listener down...To be sure this is a visual spectacle that you rarely see on Broadway. Without the spectacle, however, the story does not stand up." Full Review

75
Talkin' Broadway

"More often than not it succeeds at making a great time, even if it falls short of making great art...Though I remain an admirer of 'Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,' I find that its flaws are even more evident now, and Chavkin and Malloy are not able to disguise how hard they're working...Malloy walks a thin line between serious adaptation and rib-poking irony, and does not always get the ratios correct...Ultimately more a triumph of style than it is a classic piece of writing." Full Review

75
The Huffington Post

"Groban is delivering an unassuming, restrained and nuanced performance as an overweight older man burdened by his unhappy life...He soars, but he doesn’t show off...This is an ensemble and he fits in very nicely indeed...The show is mostly a spectacle but it has one especially affecting moment at the climax in which Groban’s Pierre and the socially disgraced Natasha have a meeting of the souls. It’s quiet, lovely, emotional." Full Review

55
The Wall Street Journal

"For all its explosive liveliness, Ms. Chavkin’s staging looks like a hopped-up concert version of a musical, not a bona fide Broadway show, and it serves mainly to paper over the essentially undramatic nature of 'The Great Comet,' which feels less like an opera than a cantata...There’s more than one way to write a show, and I freely acknowledge the extreme cleverness and originality of 'The Great Comet.' I just wish it didn’t seem at least 45 minutes longer than it really is." Full Review

80
AM New York

"Since it premiered, I have always found the show to be extremely uneven, with a stop-and-start momentum that alternates between all-out liveliness and long episodes of slow tedium. That being said, Rachel Chavkin’s stunning production is an intoxicating whirlwind of wild activity...Benton, a little-known actress, is wonderful as the doe-eyed Natasha, and Groban, with his rich voice in tow, gives a sensitive performance that fully captures Pierre’s angst-filled personality." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"It arrives on Broadway in superlative shape, its humor, emotional content and rip-roaring storytelling every bit as vibrant as its madly infectious score...No disrespect to the marvelous cast, many of whom have been with the project since its earliest stages, but the true stars are the material and production, which is often as cinematic as it is blazingly theatrical...Chavkin's direction is a marvel of intricacy, with simultaneous action happening in multiple spots...Don't miss it." Full Review

60
New York Magazine / Vulture

"If 'Natasha' used this gorgeousness to set up a contrast with the characters’ turpitude, or to bring its world crashing down at the end, it might seem less vapid...Groban sings not just beautifully but without irony; almost alone among the cast he makes real connections to the ideas behind the words...The misalignment of source and style is so severe in 'Natasha' that it seems like an example of elitist decadence rather than the condemnation of it that Tolstoy intended." Full Review

80
New York Daily News

"That immersive world has been realized ingeniously on Broadway...The large talented cast delivers the goods in director Rachel Chavkin’s lively staging and there’s much to admire in Molloy’s wistful arias and rowdy beats. The production sometimes stalls and loses impact amid the sprawl and spectacle...Still, the show is bold and affecting and a welcome addition to the Great White Way." Full Review

80
Times Square Chronicles

"The visually stunning ‘The Great Comet’ has improved in many ways from its other three incarnations…Rachel Chavkin’s direction is another work of art. Ms. Chavkin moves her players around with such grace and intimacy, the audience is sure to be astounded in its opulence…Mr. Groban’s acting is splendid...What is lacking from this production is the force of energy that was Natasha...Denée Benton is beautiful, sings well, and can act. What she lacks is star power " Full Review

70
Deadline

"I can pretty much guarantee that no one attending this gorgeous evocation of 19th-century Moscow will leave convinced they didn’t get their ruble’s worth...The book and score by Dave Malloy take great pains to spell it all out for us, often to the exclusion of, oh character development, motivation and feeling...Malloy is an inventive composer of not very beautiful music...All this action delivers pleasure for the eye and, intermittently, the ear. But not for the soul." Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"Malloy's sung-through lyrics are clear as any play dialogue and propel the narrative most effectively. And Chavkin has guided the performers to make their situations and feelings easily comprehensible...Electro-pop-influenced and sung-through like an opera, but it also, and beautifully, blends in Russian folk and classical music...They've managed to give audiences a view of Tolstoy's rather overwrought romantic subplot through a contemporary and often humorous and unique lens." Full Review

80
Chicago Tribune

"A wildly inventive new musical...'Great Comet' functions as a satire of the trope of turning Russian fiction into musicals...The weakness of Chavkin's fabulously staged production is pretty simple and obvious. Little attention is paid to the emotional inner lives of the characters...It is like you're watching a cutting, a really cool post-modern cabaret lived in real time." Full Review

85
Newsday

"It’s a massive, luscious, romantic escape into decadent 19th-century Moscow by way of Broadway...A multifaceted talent named Dave Malloy wrote and composed this seriously beautiful lark of an oddball musical...Directed by the spectacle-wizard Rachel Chavkin...Inextricable from the music and story are the overwhelming sets and costumes—sensory overload with little on its mind except offbeat entertainment." Full Review

95
Theatre Reviews Limited

"A masterful musical… A remarkable story of love gone wrong…’The Great Comet’ is one of the most innovative musicals to appear on Broadway for a very long time. Its uniqueness is surpassed only by its impressive cast. Under Rachel Chavkin’s refined and imaginative direction, Denee Benton, Josh Groban and the ensemble cast grapple successfully with Dave Malloy’s music, lyrics, and book and create a delicious and innovative approach to a small slice of ‘War and Peace.’" Full Review

70
The Wrap

"'War and Peace' is a lot of story to tell in one musical. But why leave out its ending when 'The Great Comet' meanders rather aimlessly for the first 45 minutes?...While there are occasional dollops of levity in Malloy’s lyrics, Chavkin never stops spoofing his material, which is the major saving grace of this 'Comet.' Throughout the evening, clever bits of thespian business, as well as unobtrusive audience participation, manage to delight. And distract, in a good way." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
85
Avg Score

93
Ambitious, Edgy, Epic, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to be awed by great spectacle and incredible singers and musicianship.

Don't see it if you want a purely linear plot line with traditional book scenes.

85
Ambitious, Interesting, Entertaining, Great staging, Different

See it if You enjoy non-traditional Broadway shows & performances based on literature. You're already a fan of Josh Groban & his incredible voice.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in seeing something that takes place in the early 1800s in Russia. You want a more typical and happy story.

89
Ambitious, Refreshing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if The staging makes even mezzanine seats great. What a spectacle where dancers came right in front of us. Singing with emotion draws you in.

Don't see it if You need to follow every nuance of plot to enjoy. It's fresh and different. Rachel chavkin is masterful. Loved her hadestown!

83
Inventive, Fun, Great staging, Great set design

See it if You like non traditional shows, you want something immersive but not really, you can pay attention in order to keep track of many characters

Don't see it if You don't like performers swirling around you in the aisles or in your lap, you get easily confused, you're a traditionalist.

Also The true star of this show is the set design and staging. The plot its... Read more Read less

97
Absorbing, Epic, Must see, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You enjoy Malloy's work or electro popera's, or want to see what all the well deserved hype is about!

Don't see it if You don't like war and peace, or songs with no dialogue

92
Clever, Delightful, Dizzying, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if if want to see how magical Broadway can be. The entire theater was a stage with actors and dancers running up/down the aisles delighting us.

Don't see it if if you are expecting a mini Josh Groban concert; or you need to understand all the words that are sung; or completely comprehend the plot.

Also It was a big help for me to read this article before I went to see the... Read more Read less

88
Epic, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You like immersive theatre experiences with imaginative staging and new takes on classic storytelling.

Don't see it if If you enjoy more classicly staged theatre and perfer stage and audience to be separated.

90
Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing, Electrifying

See it if You want to see one of the most creatively staged shows ever to hit Broadway, with an electric cast brimming with beautiful voices.

Don't see it if You're looking for a story that offers something new and is more intricate than a conventional love triangle.

80
Epic, Confusing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want a completely unique and immersive theatrical experience.

Don't see it if you don't like out of the ordinary shows or shows that are all singing and sometimes hard to follow.

70
Absorbing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Entertaining, Infuriating

See it if you'd like semi-immersive, environmental theatre on the largest possible scale, love Dave Malloy's music, want to see the future of theatre.

Don't see it if you find spectacle overwhelming or prefer smaller dramas. If you don't like Baz Luhrmann's films, you probably won't like this.

Also Your experience at this show is VERY effected by where you sit. We pai... Read more Read less

91
Absorbing, Refreshing, Fun, Great staging

See it if You like new music and non-traditional casting and staging - best to sit in mez or above

Don't see it if you like traditional musical and need a clear story - don't like experimental theatre

88
Ambitious, Dizzying, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want to see a unique piece of theatre with great costumes, dancing, staging and performances. I saw it with David Malloy as Pierre.

Don't see it if You are epileptic. There is some scenes with flashing lights that could put you in a seizure. All in all a fun delightful show.

70
Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Cool concept

See it if You want check out the hype and the cool transformation of the Imperial.

Don't see it if You need coherence and consistently good music -- this is so uneven.

Also The amazing intimacy and vibe of the original off- off- production is ... Read more Read less

79
Great staging, Extravagant, Frenetic, Rollicking, Unconventional

See it if immersive dinner-like theater amuses you at a rapid-fire pace and seeing the whole theater as a stage

Don't see it if you expect to find depth and to connect with the characters

75
Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Great staging

See it if you want to see how interesting War and Peace can be. Also worth seeing just for the non-traditional staging.

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist

60
Ambitious, Dizzying, Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want to experience a very creative set, perfectly executed sound, and a visually stunning evening.

Don't see it if you enjoy traditional structure to musical theatre; you want a clear plot or memorable music.

94
Ambitious, Delightful, Epic, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy frenetic events. An opera where everyone sings dances & plays instruments. It helps to review War & Peace Cliff Notes before going

Don't see it if having to look in all directions at once annoys you. Performers use every unoccupied space in the ingeniously re-designed theater.

79
Clever, Quirky, Romantic, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if Well presented. Energetic cast.

Don't see it if Well presented. Energetic cast.

70
Ambitious, Indulgent, Confusing, Great staging, Gorgeous

See it if you enjoy Russian novels, Josh Groban, super aesthetically-pleasing and immersive theater

Don't see it if you expect Josh Groban to sing a lot, can't keep Russian names that all sound the same straight, or don't enjoy eccentric off-kilter music

88
Dizzying, Epic, Confusing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want a unique theatrical experience performed by an extremely talented cast. Great music sung by great voices.

Don't see it if You are expecting a Josh Groban concert or you are looking for a fully developed story; this show is more about how the story is told.

Also This was a thoroughly entertaining show. The talent in the cast is phe... Read more Read less

95
Original, Ambitious, Masterful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see something like broadway has never seen before! Love audience participation, and anachronisms. Also, Josh Groban is amazing!

Don't see it if you are a stickler for historical accuracy, and don't like modern/dance music in a story about 19th century Russia.

Also I saw it on a Wednesday Matinee, and ALL the main actresses had issues... Read more Read less

76
Dizzying, Enchanting, Epic, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You want to experience something brand new--theatre in the round, but with a proscenium stage. And Josh Groban, too.

Don't see it if You are too traditional to see circus-style theatre or War & Peace is too far out of your wheel house.

89
Original, Clever, Dizzying, Must see, Great staging

See it if you want to see something inventive, new, pulsing, enveloping, engrossing, and 20 other adjectives I can't even fit here.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy over stimulation. There is a lot going on all around you at the same time that it can get overwhelming at times.

Also Being so stimulated, there was dialogue and plot points I missed. But ... Read more Read less

90
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, New

See it if You want a unique theatrical experience you can't get anywhere else on Broadway! A brilliant new show!

Don't see it if you are afraid of "new". It's very much it's own style of show.

82
Ambitious, Confusing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy operatic voices performing. flawlessly. Fantastic costumes and lighting design. Delightful Russian folk dancing.

Don't see it if You have problems with confusing story lines.