Despite earning outstanding reviews and a dozen Tony nominations, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 will be closing on September 3, the New York Times reports. In addition to being hailed by critics, the Broadway show performed well behind the performances of Josh Groban and then Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan in the lead role of Pierre, but a casting controversy involving Mandy Patinkin being brought in to replace Onaodowan created a lot of bad PR for the show it has been unable to bounce back from. Following the announcement that Patinkin would take over the role of Pierre, many were upset that a black actor was being replaced by a white actor. Patinkin apologized and shortly thereafter withdrew himself from the role, and to make matters worse, both Onaodowan and singer Ingrid Michaelson left on August 13. With no plans to add another high-profile name to the cast, Great Comet, which the show’s creator and composer described as being in “desperate shape” after Michaelson’s departure, has been forced to close.
The Great Comet. Photo: Chad Batka