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Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Closing of 2017

Alyssa Bowne, Writer

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On September 3, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 played its final performance, less than a month after the show announced its closing. Fans expressed their surprise and dismay throughout social media, but there are many factors that led up to the closing of The Great Comet.

Many people did not like The Great Comet due to the fact that it was not a traditional Broadway show. In most shows, the cast does not break the fourth wall, which is interaction between the actors and audience, but The Great Comet does. The cast members hand out egg shakers to the audience to shake during the song “Balaga,” they give love letters to theatre goers, and they even sit next to some audience members throughout the show.

The Tony Awards also hurt the success of The Great Comet. The Great Comet was nominated for 12 Tony Awards this year, however, the nominations did not guarantee wins for the show. Out of the 12 nominations, The Great Comet only won two awards. This loss hurt the show, as many theatre-lovers base what show they see by awards won by the show.

A month after the Tonys, Josh Groban, the lead actor, left the musical, and former Hamilton star, Okieriete Onadowan, stepped into his place as Pierre. However, during Onadowan’s run, ticket sales dropped significantly. In response, management decided to cut Onadowan’s run short and have Mandy Patinkin replace him. When news of the change came out, fans were angry, many of whom did not believe this change was fair to Onadowan. In fact, angry fans were chalking up the sidewalk and and leaving posters at the theater saying, “Make room for Oak,” referring to Onadowan. When Patinkin heard this, he decided to not take the role as he did not want to step on Onadownan’s toes. In response to the controversy and dropping in ticket sales, the producers of the show decided to close The Great Comet for good.

On September 3, Broadway said goodbye to The Great Comet. The closing meant that many lost their jobs, but the cast and crew have been trying to continue their art. Some cast members are now performing at Feinstein’s/54 Below and making their own music. Malloy, who wrote the script for The Great Comet, has his other musical, Ghost Quartet, which will be performed in New York City in October. Malloy is also working on his next musical, Moby Dick. As for The Imperial Theatre, which was home to The Great Comet, it been undergoing reconstruction for Carousel, the next musical that will perform there. The Great Comet was slowly fading away, however no one noticed until it was too late.

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Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Closing of 2017