Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

A SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. TITLE

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Dave Malloy

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  5f, 5m, 6m or f

By Dave Malloy / Adapted from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

An electropop opera ripped from a slice of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Photo: Chad Batka

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

by  Dave Malloy

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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5f, 5m, 6m or f
  • Duration
    Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Experimental
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Nominee: Twelve 2017 Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, Book, Score and Orchestrations
    Winner! Two 2017 Tony® Awards
    Winner! Three 2014 Lucille Lortel Awards
    Winner! 2013 Off Broadway Alliance Award, Best New Musical
    Winner! 2013 Obie Award, Special Citation
    Winner! 2013 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater

Description

From the celebrated and award-winning composer Dave Malloy comes Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera based on a scandalous slice of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Young and impulsive, Natasha Rostova arrives in Moscow to await the return of her fiancé from the front lines. When she falls under the spell of the roguish Anatole, it is up to Pierre, a family friend in the middle of an existential crisis, to pick up the pieces of her shattered reputation. Following a critically exalted premiere at Ars Nova in New York City, a subsequent Off-Broadway transfer, and an acclaimed run on Broadway, this award-winning musical expands the possibilities for the genre with its daring score and bold storytelling.

History

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 premiered at Ars Nova in New York City in October 2012, under the direction of Rachel Chavkin. 

PROLOGUE
Moscow, 1812, just before Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and the burning of the city. As the story begins (“Prologue”) we meet “Pierre,” a wealthy aristocrat having an existential crisis, living a slothful life of wine, philosophy, and inaction.

PART I
Meanwhile, the young, newly engaged Natasha Rostova and her cousin Sonya arrive in “Moscow” to stay the winter with Marya D., Natasha’s godmother, while Natasha waits for her fiancé, Andrey, to return from the war. Marya D. tells Natasha that she must visit her future in-laws, the demented, miserly old Prince Bolkonsky and his spinster daughter, Mary (“The Private and Intimate Life of the House”), to win their affection and secure the marriage, which is critical to the Rostovs’ status and fortune. However, Natasha’s visit ends in disaster (“Natasha & Bolkonskys”), and she leaves missing Andrey more than ever (“No One Else”).

PART II
The next night, Natasha is introduced to decadent Moscow society at “The Opera”; there she meets Anatole, a young officer and notorious rogue (“Natasha & Anatole”); their interaction leaves Natasha feeling confused.

PART III
Anatole, his friend Dolokhov, and Pierre go out drinking; they are met by Hélène, (Pierre’s wife and Anatole’s sister), who taunts Pierre. Anatole declares his intention to have Natasha, although he is already married. Pierre finds his wife’s familiarity with Dolokhov offensive and challenges him to a duel, almost getting himself killed (“The Duel”). Afterward, Pierre reflects on his life (“Dust and Ashes”). Natasha and her family go to church (“Sunday Morning”); later, Hélène arrives and invites Natasha to the ball that night (“Charming”), where Anatole seduces Natasha (“The Ball”).

INTERMISSION

PART IV
Natasha and Anatole make plans to elope, and Natasha breaks off her engagement with Andrey (“Letters”). Sonya finds out about the plan and realizes it will mean Natasha’s ruin (“Sonya & Natasha”); she determines to stop her at any cost (“Sonya Alone”). That evening Anatole and Dolokhov plan for the elopement (“Preparations”) and call on their trusted troika driver, “Balaga,” to take them to Natasha’s house. However, “The Abduction” is thwarted at the last moment by Marya D.

PART V
After scolding a grief-stricken Natasha (“In My House”), Marya D. sends out “A Call to Pierre,” asking him to help handle the crisis. Pierre kicks Anatole out of Moscow (“Find Anatole” / “Pierre & Anatole”); Natasha poisons herself (“Natasha Very Ill”); Andrey returns. Pierre explains the scandal to him and asks him to be compassionate, but Andrey is unable to forgive (“Pierre & Andrey”). Finally, Pierre visits Natasha (“Pierre & Natasha”). After their meeting, Pierre experiences a moment of enlightenment while seeing “The Great Comet of 1812” in the night sky.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
Cautions
  • Alcohol
  • Gun Shots
  • Mild Adult Themes

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes

Setting:

Various locations in 19th-century Russia. The original production used immersive staging to create a Russian-Samovar-meets-New-York-City-Night-Club atmosphere.

Casting

5f, 5m, 6m or f
Cast Attributes
  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

There's a war going on out there somewhere, and ANDREY isn't here.
(Range: Baritone, F2-Eb3)
NATASHA is young; she loves Andrey with all her heart.
(Range: Soprano, G3-F5)
SONYA is good; Natasha's cousin and closest friend.
(Range: Mezzo-Soprano, B3-C5)
MARYA is oldschool; a grande dame of Moscow. Natasha's Godmother, strict yet kind.
(Range: Alto, G3-B4)
ANATOLE is hot; he spends his money on women and wine.
(Range: Tenor, B2-C#5)
HÉLÈNE is a slut; Anatole's sister, married to Pierre.
(Range: Alto, G3-F5)
DOLOKHOV is fierce (but not too important). Anatole's friend, a crazy good shot. 
(Range: Baritone, E3-F4)
OLD PRINCE BOLKONSKY is crazy, and MARY is plain; Andrey's family - totally messed up. 
(BOLKONSKY Range: Baritone, Ab3-F4) (MARY Range: Mezzo-Soprano, G3-B4)
BALAGA is just for fun.
(Range: Baritone, A2-E4)
And what about PIERRE? Dear, bewildered, and awkward PIERRE?
(Range: Bari-Tenor, Ab2-Ab4)
ENSEMBLE/VARIOUS OTHERS (2F 2M +)

Casting Notes

In the original production, actors played many of the instruments. While this is not mandatory, an Instrument Breakdown Guide is included in the rental package.

BOLKONSKY and ANDREY are double-cast.

Music

  • Musical Style: Pop/Rock, Folk, Operetta
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Medium
  • Chorus Size: Small

Act I

1. "Prologue" - Pierre, Natasha, Sonya, Marya D., Anatole, Hélène, Dolokhov, Bolkonsky, Mary, Balaga and Ensemble
2. "Pierre" - Pierre and Ensemble
3. "Moscow" - Natasha, Marya D. and Sonya
4. "The Private and Intimate Life of the House" - Bolkonsky, Mary and Natasha
5. "Natasha & Bolkonskys" - Servant, Mary, Natasha and Bolkonsky
6. "No One Else" - Natasha
7.1 "The Opera (Part 1)" - Marya D., Servant, Sonya, Hélène, Pierre & Ensemble
7.2 "The Opera (Part 2)" - Opera Soloists, Natasha, Sonya and Ensemble
7.3 "The Opera (Part 3)" - Natasha, Sonya, Hélène, Opera Soloists and Ensemble
8. "Natasha & Anatole" - Natasha and Anatole
9. "The Duel" - Anatole, Pierre, Dolokhov, Hélène, Servant and Ensemble
10. "Dust and Ashes" - Pierre and Ensemble
11. "Sunday Morning" - Sonya, Natasha and Marya D.
12. "Charming" - Hélène and Natasha
13. "The Ball" - Anatole and Natasha

Act II

14. "Letters" - Mary, Natasha, Anatole, Dolokhov, Pierre and Chorus
15. "Sonya & Natasha" - Natasha and Sonya
16. "Sonya Alone" - Sonya
17. "Preparations" - Pierre, Anatole and Dolokhov
18. "Balaga" - Balaga, Anatole, Dolokhov and Ensemble
19. "The Abduction" - Anatole, Pierre, Dolokhov, Maidservant and Ensemble
20. "In My House" - Marya D., Sonya and Natasha
21. "A Call to Pierre" - Marya, Pierre, Servant and Ensemble
22. "Find Anatole" - Pierre, Anatole, Hélène, Natasha, Servant and Ensemble
23. "Pierre & Anatole" - Pierre and Anatole
24. "Natasha Very Ill" - Sonya
25. "Pierre & Andrey" - Sonya, Andrey and Pierre
26. "Pierre & Natasha" - Pierre and Natasha
27. "The Great Comet of 1812" - Pierre and Company
28. Bows - Orchestra
29. Exit Music - Orchestra

Piano/Conductor Score
Piano/Vocal Score
Data Disc (QLab Sound Files)

Roving Clarinet
Roving Violin 1 & 2
Roving Viola 1 & 2
Roving Accordion 1 & 2
Oboe/English Horn
Clarinet/Bass Clarinet
Viola
Cello 1 & 2
Guitar
Keyboard/Accordion/Glockenspiel
Bass
Drums
Pierre Piano/Accordion/Vocal
Ensemble Guitar/Vocal

Materials

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

Piano/Conductor Score
Piano/Vocal Score
Data Disc (QLab Sound Files)

Roving Clarinet
Roving Violin 1 & 2
Roving Viola 1 & 2
Roving Accordion 1 & 2
Oboe/English Horn
Clarinet/Bass Clarinet
Viola
Cello 1 & 2
Guitar
Keyboard/Accordion/Glockenspiel
Bass
Drums
Pierre Piano/Accordion/Vocal
Ensemble Guitar/Vocal

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Additional Resources And Services Available

Media

Press

"Both the most innovative and the best new musical to open on Broadway since Hamilton!" - The New York Times

REVIEWS:

Critic's Pick! "A witty, inventive enchantment from rousing start to mournful finish. It is both the most innovative and the best new musical to open on Broadway since Hamilton!" - The New York Times, Read More

Critic's Pick! "A vibrant, transporting new musical [...] Mr. Malloy’s lyrical voice is blunt, funny and forthrightly contemporary [...]” - The New York Times, Read More

"5 Stars (out of 5) [...] Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 feels like a party from start to end: lively, intelligent and utterly engrossing [...] The dazzlingly variegated score - which covers musical terrain from folk songs through rock, R&B and house music - captures their story in stirring and surprising ways; [...] this is a rare and marvelous event: amid the din of New York, an oasis of artful illumination.” - Time Out New York, Read More

"Inventive, ravishing and full-on romantic! [...] Appearing out of nowhere to brighten the theatrical season, this thrilling new show relies on ambition, ingenuity, craft and heart.” - New York Post, Read More

"This astonishing new musical adapts a 70-page section of [War and Peace], mashing up imperialist Russia and an eclectic range of styles, turning Tolstoy into a swoon-worthy, vodka-soaked party. It's a sensual, wild ride: rollicking music, beautiful singing, a feast for the eye, ear and mouth." - NY1, Read More

“Dave Malloy may be a genius.” - New York Theatre Review, Read More 

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

27 Plays & Musicals for Book Lovers
by Annette Storckman
August 2, 2019

What About Pierre?: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Coment of 1812
Katie Coryell
February 4, 2019

Everything Old is New Again: Costume Design with Paloma Young 
by Rebecca Schlossberg
January 12, 2016

A.R.T. Series: On All Sides, An Interview with Director Rachel Chavkin 
by Tessa Nelson
December 16, 2015 

A.R.T. Series: On the Set of GREAT COMET 
by Tessa Nelson
December 16, 2015

A.R.T. Series: The Great Experiment
by Dave Malloy
December 16, 2015

Song Samples

Prologue (Ensemble)
Press Play
Pierre (Pierre, Ensemble)
Press Play
Natasha Lost (Natasha)
Press Play
Sonya Alone (Sonya)
Press Play
Balaga (Balaga, Ensemble)
Press Play
The Great Comet of 1812 (Pierre, Ensemble)
Press Play

Videos

  • What is the Comet - film about Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

  • A.R. T scenic and prop shops for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

  • A.R. T direction and scene design of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

  • Theatre Talk - Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

  • No One Else - Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

  • Brittain Ashford, "Sonya Alone - Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

  • Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 - Trailer

  • Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 - Commercial

More videos +

Photos

  • Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

    Credit: Chad Batka

  • Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

    Credit: Chad Batka

  • Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

    Credit: Chad Batka

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Authors

Dave Malloy

Dave Malloy is a composer/writer/performer/orchestrator. He has written fourteen musicals, including Moby-Dick, a four-part musical reckoning with Melville’s classic novel; Octet, a chamber choir musical about internet addiction; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

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