Review: The Great Comet starring Okieriete Onaodowan
So if you've been reading my blog for about a month, you'll know a couple things and one of those things is that I saw The Great Comet several weeks ago. And after seeing it, I decided I should go back and see the show from a different perspective, as I had been in the rear mezzanine the first time. So I did, and bought myself a ticket to see it again from one of the onstage banquettes.
Since my first visit to the opera, the cast had changed a bit. I had been expecting to see Okieriete Onaodowan the first time I went, but after he pushed back his starting date, I saw Dave Malloy. However I saw Onaodowan as Pierre this time and was blown away. His voice is well suited to the score and I absolutely hope that a professional recording of him singing "Dust and Ashes"
is released before he leaves the show because it was an amazing performance. He was an absolutely fantastic Pierre, and I'm incredibly sad that his time in the part is being cut short as of right now.
Since Gelsey Bell is currently taking a break from the role of Princess Mary, I saw Courtney Bassett in the role, who was very, very good as well as well as being lovely at the stage door. Lucas Steele who usually plays Anatole was not on that night so I got to see Josh Canfield in the role, and he was absolutely fantastic, and also very nice to everyone at the stage door.
Above: Michaelson at the stage door
It was my second time seeing Ingrid Michaelson as Sonya. She is absolutely fantastic in the role, especially when singing "Sonya Alone". Much like I hope their is a recording of Onaodowan's version of "Dust and Ashes" I hope that there will be a professional recording of Michaelson singing "Sonya Alone".
Denee Benton who plays Natasha, Amber Gray who plays Helene, and Grace McLean who plays Marya D. are absolutely fantastic, Benton especially in "No One Else". It is clear to see why she received her Tony nomination for the part. Gray is always in character, and is a fantastic actress. She gives a great performace during the song "Charming". McLean as well is incredible on stage, and during "In My House" her vocal control is amazing.
Above: The view from my seat
I had a very different experience sitting in one of the onstage banquettes versus sitting in the mezzanine. First I had a table next to me which was nice, and I could see everything from the stage, to the orchestra, to the rear mezzanine. I preferred this seating because I could see everything that was happening and I was closer to the action. The cast would make eye contact and interact with the people sitting in the banquettes, which made the experience more fun for me.
Above: My Playbill with the view in the background
I had a great experience at the stage door as well and I got to meet a lot more of the cast then I did the first time I went, while I didn't meet Okieriete Onaodowan, Denee Benton, Grace McLean, or Amber Gray, I liked meeting a lot of the ensemble and having my playbill signed.
Above: My signed Playbill
If you can get the Imperial Theater before Onaodowan leaves the show on August 13th, I highly recommend it, he is absolutely fantastic. Michaelson also departs the show that day and her performance of "Sonya Alone" is not to be missed!