Probably one of the most interactive shows ever to hit the Great White Way, Dave Malloy's Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, is a show unlike any other.
The cast themselves admits in "Prologue" that the story is complicated and tells the audience that they're going to want to keep their playbills open to follow along with the complex family tree. The best way to explain how the plot starts is that Natasha's fiance isn't there, and she and her cousin Sonya go to Moscow to stay with Marya D, where Natasha meets Anatole and ends up cheating on her fiance.
It's incredible to think that from 70 pages of War and Peace, Malloy created an electro pop musical, bursting with life.
One of the best songs, if not the best song, in the show is "Sonya Alone". I was very excited to see Ingrid Michaelson sing the song in one of her first performances in the show. She was absolutely fantastic and is a highlight of the show for sure. Her voice fits the score incredibly well and she portrays Sonya and her emotions beautifully in a very memorable performance. Malloy is absolutely in his element in the show he created, very obviously enjoying what he gets to do. His work unfolds around him as Pierre, and his voice shines during "Dust and Ashes" in the first act.
Probably the catchiest song in the show, "Balaga" is a huge dance number and the cast is all around the theater, interacting with the audience, breaking that fourth wall you generally find in a production. It would be remiss to not mention Lucas Steele and Denee Benton. As Anatole and Natasha, they play their roles beautifully and have incredible chemistry on stage.
The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, the most out of any musical of the season. And they won two, for best Scenic Design and Lighting Design of musical. And those awards were incredibly well deserved. The set spans the entire theater, making every audience member feel like they're a part of the story. The lights move and flash during different scenes, and they're all around the theater with small tables in the mezzanine with lamps as well as light bulbs and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Both the scenic and lighting design work with each other to make you feel like you're in the world of Natasha and Pierre.
Of course, some of the other standout members of the show are the chorus members. Several play instruments and still dance and sing. Every single one of them has insane amounts of energy and they all look incredibly happy when they're dancing, singing, or running around to different parts of the theater.
While this show is not in my top 5, I have great amounts of respect for the production. It is put on very well, and deserves the number of Tony nominations it received as it truly is an incredible piece of art, unlike anything else on Broadway. I will admit that I didn't enjoy the first act as much as I enjoyed the second act. It's very easy to get into the show after you get over the initial surprise of not knowing where to look when, and seeing people all over the stage. Overall, I think I would like to go back to the show and sit somewhere else, to see how different the experience is. I recommend this show if you're looking to see something different and want a more immersive theater experience.