Josh Groban will make his Broadway debut in “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” gearing up to return to New York in September 2016.
An uber-successful crooner who’s also an avowed fan of theater, Groban will play Pierre, the role originated by the show’s creator, Dave Malloy, in the musical’s well-received Off Broadway premiere in 2012, and in subsequent stagings in 2013 and 2014. Based on a short section of “War and Peace,” the edgy electro-opera “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” centers on romantic entanglements in 19th century Moscow.
Groban has a legion of fans who could help bolster box office for “The Great Comet,” but it remains an open question whether they’ll turn out to see him star in a work that’s somewhat more experimental than the fare for which he’s best known.
The show was originally staged (by director Rachel Chavkin, also on board for Broadway) in an immersive, environmental production that played first at Off Broadway venue Ars Nova and then in a tent in two different Manhattan locations. But the Broadway production will shift into a traditional proscenium set-up while still maintaining elements of the immersive staging. The design by Mimi Lien is currently getting a pre-Broadway tryout during the current engagement of “The Great Comet” at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., where the show plays through Jan. 3.
Howard and Janet Kagan, the producers of the recent Broadway revival of “On the Town” as well as earlier Off Broadway stagings of “The Great Comet,” produce with Paula Marie Black. No theater or dates have yet been set for Broadway.