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How ‘War and Peace’ Became A Broadway Musical Smash48:09
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“War and Peace” on Broadway. “Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812” is up for a dozen Tony Awards.  We talk to the creators and star Josh Groban.

Josh Groban and the cast of "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812." (Courtesy "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812")
Josh Groban and the cast of "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812." (Courtesy "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812")

And the most Tony nominations on Broadway this year go to a musical straight out of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” Set in Moscow long ago, with an electro-pop sound and wild staging that is literally right in your lap. “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” puts superstar Josh Groban on Broadway for the first time in the midst of another era’s .001 percent. Russian aristocrats drinking while the world falls in. This hour On Point, Josh Groban’s with us, and more, from "The Great Comet of 1812." — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Malloy, creator of the Tony-nominated musical, “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” He’s up for three awards in the 2017 Tony Awards. (@dave_malloy)

Rachel Chavkin, director of the Tony-nominated musical, “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” Her direction is up for a Tony Award. (@rachelchavkin)

Josh Groban, singer and actor. His performance as Pierre in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” is up for the Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award. Multi-platinum recording artist. (joshgroban)

Denée Benton, singer and Broadway actor. Her role as Natasha in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” is up for the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award. (@deneebenton)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: ‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,’ on the Heels of ‘Hamilton’ — "While it’s true that the swirling romantic intrigues can be dizzying, Mr. Malloy has done such a fine job of distilling the essence of the story into song — there is virtually no dialogue, with the characters even singing descriptive narration (Natasha: 'I blush happily') — that you are not likely to spend much time peering at the program."

New Yorker: Immersion Theatre, on Broadway — "In an era of binge-watching, live-tweeting, and the Oculus Rift, how can theatre compete as all-consuming entertainment? Perhaps it’s our desire to be more than spectators—to be sucked headlong into alternative worlds—that has fuelled the recent boom in immersive theatre, which trades the fourth wall for winding hallways and dance floors, in the hope of giving audiences not a show but an “experience.”

The Cut: Meet Broadway’s Newest ‘It’ Girl, Denée Benton — "Benton plays a Russian aristocrat on Broadway, a character who, for all intents and purposes, was written for a white woman. She wasn’t sure casting would even consider her, not because of her talent but because period dramas have the bad habit of going for more traditional casting selections. Fortunately, the director Rachel Chavkin and writer of the book and music Dave Molly are 'progressive [and] cared more about the essence of the character,' Benton describes, which brought her back to the stage in October."

This program aired on May 5, 2017.

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