Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to talk about all things related to the wonderful world of musical theatre. Each week I will post a thread with a topic/question for everyone to respond to. This is also a great place to mention any new musicals you’ve discovered and/or general recommendations for other musical fans. Heard/seen any good shows lately? Have any theatre news to share? Tell us about it!
The year is winding down, and everyone is putting together their best of 2017 lists, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about your favorite theatre experiences this year. This can be anything theatre related, so it doesn’t just have to be musicals. It can be a show you saw, a soundtrack you discovered, and musical TV show you loved, a particularly good musical episode of a TV show, a performance you were a part of, etc.
Last week we talked about wishes, so this week I want to talk about a show I have actually seen. This show is actually the reason I decided to start this thread, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about it for a while. I keep putting it off because I don’t feel like I can actually put into words how much I love it. And I wasn’t sure what topic to put it under. Anyway, I think I’ve finally figured it out. So…this is all to say that my favorite theatre experience this year was seeing/falling in love with Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. To give you some background, I’m a big Josh Groban fan. So, when I saw that he was going to be in a musical, I was very excited, but I never dreamed that I would actually be able to see it. I don’t live anywhere near NYC, so it just didn’t even seem possible. What I didn’t know was that my amazing husband was planning a trip in secret as a birthday present. So, long story short, I saw The Great Comet on January 14th, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I decided not to listen to the soundtrack ahead of time because I wanted it to be a wholly new experience. But even if I had listened to it nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. Let me try to describe it for you.
When we walked into the lobby we found ourselves in a kind of industrial Russian nightclub (complete with Pussy Riot posters plastered on the walls). At first, I was confused, but it made sense later. As we found our seats I was delighted to see that the stage and theater were beautifully decorated, and our seats even had a little table next to them with a small lamp. It was a great place to put my wine, and it created the perfect ambience for the show. I’m convinced that we had the best seats in the house (no, not on stage, that would have made me very anxious). The show started with Josh Groban (*internal fangirl screaming*) and the rest of the cast introducing the characters and the setting of the show. As the show progressed the story unfolded while the cast moved all around the theater (literally, all around, in front of us, next to us, dancing, playing instruments, singing, interacting with the audience). I laughed, I cried, my heart pounded in my chest, and in the final moments of the show when the comet appeared I felt the same hopeful feeling as Pierre while tears streamed down my face. It was an amazingly cathartic experience that I will never forget. When I listen to the soundtrack now I can still picture every moment of the show, relieving the experience each time.
But it wasn’t just seeing the show (and getting my Playbill signed by the cast!) that makes The Great Comet my favorite theatre experience of 2017. The show itself is something that I desperately needed this year. It’s full of hope and love and a joy for life, but it’s also about struggling to find those things. I often felt like Pierre this year, desperately wanting to believe that there is something to hope for. When I listen to songs like “Letters” and Pierre sings,
He’s no great man
None of us are great men
We’re caught in the wave of history
It’s all the same
Oh, if only I could not see “it”
This dreadful, terrible “it”
I can’t stop the angry, frustrated tears that fill my eyes. But as I continue listening, my hope returns (slowly, but it does return). At the end, I cry tears of joy as Pierre reminds me that there is so much love in this world, even if I can’t always see it:
It seems to me
That this comet
Feels my softened and uplifted soul
And my newly melted heart
Into a new life
Okay, I don’t know if I’ve really articulated how much I love this show, but I hope that you get some sense of why I believe that Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 is a special show. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend giving it a listen. The music is fantastic, and the cast is phenomenal. Josh Groban isn’t even my favorite cast member because they are all so incredible I can’t pick favorites. I’m going to stop myself from ranting about the lack of Tony Awards. Instead, I’ll just leave you with the Tony performance (which really captures the thrill of seeing the show live) and a couple of other highlights.
(Lucas Steele totally charms me starting at 4:46. Did I mention how mad I am about the Tonys?)
(Brittain Ashford deserves all the praise and admiration. She is amazing. *angry rant about the Tonys*.)
(I couldn’t leave Groban out!)
Thanks for reading this very long post about a musical that I love. Now it’s your turn, what were your favorite theatre experiences this year?