Saturday, May 27, 2017

Broadway Bookends, aka Comets with Tales

 Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812 
is a piece of Tolstoy pie,
70 pages from War and Peace, presented as an 
"electro pop opera."
It began life in 2012 with stagings done off Broadway and
in Cambridge, Mass.
It landed on Broadway in 2016...and has received 11 Tony nominations.
Music, lyrics and book by Dave Malloy.
Josh Groban (in his Broadway debut) as Pierre and
 Denee Benton as Natasha.

 Lucas Steele as Anatole.
Josh, Denee and Lucas are all nominated for Tonys.

 It's a complicated Russian novel,
everyone's got 9 different names...
hence the "family" tree.

 Dave Malloy on accordian
in the Cambridge production.

 Nicholas Belton as Old Prince Bolkonsky,
is double cast as Andrey.

 At the other end of the Broadway spectrum
is A Bronx Tale,
based on the life of writer/actor Chazz Palmenteri.
It features the music of Al Menken and Glenn Slater,
famous for their Disney scores.

 It's been called a combination 
of Jersey Boys and West Side Story...
and stars Nick Cordero (top center)
Hudson Loverro (the short one), 
Bobby Conte Thornton (above center),
and Ariana DeBose (below center).
 Palmenteri first performed the story as a 
one-man show,
and then Robert DeNiro approached him about making it into a movie.
It came back to off-Broadway in 2007,
and finally morphed into a musical,
launching ON Broadway in 2016.
No nominations, just feel good songs and lots of happy audiences. 
As Charles Isherwood of the Times wrote,
"Sometimes plain old pasta with red sauce is just what the doctor ordered."

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