Josh Groban Cast in Broadway Production of A.R.T.’s New Musical
Josh Groban and his majestic voice are set to make their Broadway debut in September, in a production of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera based on a 70-page excerpt from Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
American Repertory Theater is currently staging previews of a production in Cambridge—an enlarged version of the original runs at the Off-Broadway theater Ars Nova in 2012 and then in pop-up tents at two locations in New York City in 2013 and 2014. The A.R.T. set was designed by Mimi Lien, who won a MacArthur “genius” grant earlier this year. The Broadway version will use the same design.
Groban visited the A.R.T. on Saturday, when he saw the show and met the current cast. He told the New York Times that he already bought an accordion—his character, Pierre, plays one in the show—and started reading War and Peace to prepare for the role.
The singer, who’s previously starred in movies and television shows—Crazy Stupid Love and The Office, to name a couple—said that he’s been approached to star on Broadway before, but chose this role for his debut because of passion for the material.
“For a first time doing it, I wanted it to be something that was a little less expected, and I wanted it to be a show and a character that forced me to get a little bit out of my comfort zone and do something that people haven’t seen before,” he told the New York Times.
The A.R.T. is no stranger to serving as a test run for Broadway—artistic director Diane Paulus’s productions of Pippin, Finding Neverland, and now Waitress have all made it to the Great White Way.
The Great Comet is directed by Rachel Chavkin, with book, music, and lyrics by Dave Molloy. The A.R.T. production runs through January 3.