Cinema of the Week: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

Kristen Hines, Columnist •

Not many people know this, but the world of Broadway is a brutal world when it comes to the lifespan of beloved musicals. A musical may be amazing in every sense of the word, but because of popularity issues or another musical getting more attention, the Broadway run of a musical can be cut criminally short. That is the case with Dave Malloy’s musical, ‘Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.’

Like the hit musical Hamilton, ‘Great Comet’ is based on a book, only one that’s much more familiar: Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. More specifically, 70 pages of volume two of the book; but can you blame them? That book is famous for being the longest and most complex novel of all time! But I digress.

This musical is very different and unique in almost every sense of the word. The lyrics don’t really rhyme or have a lot of musicality, and a lot of it is the characters narrating their actions. The music also has an electro-pop style to it, using innovative music despite the time period of old Russia. These aspects make the whole musical like a funky audio book; a musical you listen to not really to sing along to, but to listen to the story.

Unfortunately, that may be a reason why not many people were taken with it. Despite being nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, including Best Musical, it only won one, for lighting and stage design. Not exactly an award you can brag about compared to the others. Even though the Tony’s didn’t have any-hing to do with decreasing popularity of ‘Great Comet’, the following of diehard fans were outraged when they announced their closing. But, despite their short run, ‘Great Comet’ lives on in the world of Spotify and the internet, as fans try and spread its story around. Perhaps one day, it will be revived and have a better shot in the harsh world of Broadway.

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