One step inside the Imperial Theatre and romance was already flooding the air. Uniquely shaped chandeliers hung from the ceiling amidst deep red walls while the stage twisted and turned in different directions. The audience explored the stage plot from all angles, as Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812
is an interactive show and there were endless sights to see.
The best word to describe this broadway show is simply: magical. Lights rose in and out from the ceiling, made to look like stars. Fun, renaissance-inspired costumes glowed and appeared to be detail-oriented, perfectly designed for each character's personality and motives (Natasha's purity represented with white dresses, Helene's witchy adultery represented with green, etc).
Humor was not lacking in this show either, with Bolkonsky yelling out offensive (but funny!) slurs, Pierre (played by Hamilton's
Okieriete Onaodowan) singing about having trouble finding the armholes in his jacket, and the undeniably cliche arse that is Anatole (played by Lucas Steele). Personally, I laughed more during this show than any other show in a while. There was also no shortage of inventiveness throughout -- the cast sang the whole way through, dancers made their way down the middle of the audience, and even threw what seemed to be garlic knots into the crowd. The band, located in the center of the stage, played an enormous part in the show, with progressive beats that sometimes edged towards hip hop. There are some fantastic vocal moments, like when Natasha (Denée Benton) meets Princess Mary (Courtney Bassett) and the two go back and forth with dissonant harmonies. Natasha's hopefulness in her performance of "No One Else" was chilling, and Pierre's hopelessness in "Dust and Ashes" was heartbreaking but a stunning standout.
A highlight of the show was Sonya, played by the incredible Ingrid Michaelson
. Her voice certainly had a less traditional, more "indie" tone, which balanced out the show nicely. When she begged for Natasha's friendship, her voice cracked and shaked perfectly, mixing singing with crying. Jumping right into the second act can be hard sometimes, but her performance was so heartbreaking and believable, she hooked me right back in. Michaelson shined in this performance, and proved that she's capable of pretty much anything.
With an all-star cast and a heartbreaking love story that makes you root for the star-crossed lovers, watchers will instantly become infatuated with this show. The final performance takes place on September 3rd.