Musical Moodboards / Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

Hi all!Musical MoodboardsHow is your August coming along? Is anyone back in school yet? I have classmates and friends already gearing up to leave, which I suppose makes the point known: college is right around the corner! Though the warm weather and activities are still in full swing, my mind is thinking ahead, especially as I make plans for “goodbye parties” with my close friends and learn the names of my dorm neighbors.

I, admittedly, am not quite ready to move in myself: I still have to ponder over fall course selections (the Brown class catalogue is bursting with options, all of which look exciting) and plan Ciao Bella for the autumn months (I’m wrestling with managing blogging with my extracurricular interests and the relevance of blogging given the current news cycle). Before I look too far in the future, however, I wanted to reflect on a few recent summer adventures, one of which was a trip into New York City. Our trip was short – only a day long – but my mom, sister, and I tried to pack in as much of the city as possible: we peeked into the Cooper Hewitt; sampled ice cream from Ample Hills; and, naturally, say a show! I haven’t shared a Musical Moodboard in ages, but Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 quickly proved worthy of its own post. I had a blast putting together images to reflect this production, but if you want to see another musical, do browse the archives HERE :)

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812Sources: Landscape Painting / Natasha and Pierre Illustration / Prologue Lyrics source unknown / Tolstoy Portrait / Bunker Photograph / War and Peace Illustration / {FYI: I tried my best to provide you with the most accurate and updated sources, but please let me know of any problems or mistakes!}

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has been several years in the making: it was first developed at the theatre Ars Nova in 2012, transferred to the American Repertory Theater in 2015, and finally, made its way to the Broadway stage this past November. The date of its closing was announced earlier in the week – and the factors that led to this decision have been well spread throughout the theatre community – but instead of dwelling on the negative in light of the news, I’ve chosen to focus on the accomplishments of such an unusual show: throughout its run, its creators, cast, and crew have championed diversity; the stunning technical aspects all celebrate a unique approach to musical theatre; and the score deftly takes a stab at one of great literature’s central works, War and Peace.

Its originality in mind, I wanted to piece together a moodboard that honored the aspects of the show that make it so special, among them the incredible vocal talents of its 30+ person cast and the immersive experience provided by both the set and the ensemble. The energy-packed opening number is alluded to with a line from the song; the painting-lined walls of the auditorium are captured with a snow-covered Russian landscape; and even the lobby, said to resemble an abandoned bunker, gets a nod. I also included two illustrations: one colorful and modern, the other more traditional and somber, to reflect how easily the musical can weave between the two moods. Finally, one can’t mention Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 without Leo Tolstoy, whose classic War and Peace led Dave Malloy to pen the “electropop opera” in the first place.

Let’s discuss! Have you seen or heard about The Great Comet before? If you have, how do you feel about its closing? Have you read (or, at least, attempted to read!) War and Peace? I’m a bit intimidated!

Have a lovely Friday!
Bella

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9 thoughts on “Musical Moodboards / Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

  1. I love this! I’ve seen this show four times so far haha, and have tickets to see it twice more! I’m trying to get my fill of it before it closes, sadly. :( I think it’s a work of utter genius; I really thought it would have had the same buzz Hamilton generated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh you lucky duck! Enjoy these final performances :) And I know, I totally agree! I’m biased, of course, but I thought it was at the same inventive level as Hamilton, and it certainly had its fair share of history intertwined in the narrative.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree! It shared a lot of similarities with Hamilton, I thought – inspired by a dusty old book, historical, modern music clashing with old timey setting, diversity…I have no idea why it wasn’t as successful. :(

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ahhh i just saw it last night, and I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S CLOSING? i feel like it just added 10 years to my life span. i am definitely tempted to read War and Peace now, but gosh its a huge book and im scared

    Liked by 1 person

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