Darlinghurst Theatre Company has announced the cast of the highly anticipated Australian premiere of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which opens to the public at Eternity Playhouse on 9 July 2023.
Directed by Dean Drieberg (Hamilton) and based on the scandalous slice of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the Tony Award winning electro-pop opera boasts a stellar cast that will bring the energy to the highly immersive and memorable experience superbly crafted for the stage.
Following a critically exalted premiere at Ars Nova in New York City, a subsequent Off-Broadway transfer, and an acclaimed run-on Broadway, this exhilarating musical theatre production follows the young and spontaneous Natasha.
She is awaiting the return of Andrey who is her beloved fiancé on the front lines. One dizzying night at the Opera, in a city exploding with hedonism and opulent excess, Natasha falls passionately in love with the dashing, roguish, (and already married) Anatole.
To solve her love conundrum, she turns to her lonely friend Pierre (in the middle of an existential crisis) who makes it his mission to extricate her from risk of ruin and in doing so, renew his own soul.
The electrifying cast of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 will feature some of Australia’s most in-demand and quadruple threat performers. The dazzling actor / musician ensemble of the astronomically enticing show will also be playing instruments live on stage.
This unique performance concept combining the cast and the orchestra in synonymous harmony will also be paired with the production’s brave score, striking choreography, and mesmerising staging.
Promising a visceral experience, Drieberg has curated an impressive cast to bring this reimagined story to life. Hailing from the Gold Coast, proud biracial woman Grace Driscoll is thrilled to be joining the company as the character of Natasha.
With a pastiche for shows with long titles, Grace’s professional credits include Shirley in Beautiful: The Carol King Musical (Matt Ward Productions), Eileen Evergreen in Nice Work If You Can Get It (Michelle Guthrie Presents / Hayes Theatre) and Rosalia U/S Maria in West Side Story (Opera Australia / GWB Entertainment).
“Natasha is such a compelling character because she feels everything so deeply,” said Grace. “She is described as young and naive, but I see this as her being bold and courageous; to feel so deeply and so honestly- the way children do. At some point in adulthood, we lose that, so I’m excited to play into that.”
Joining Grace on the stage as Pierre is proud Greek and Wemba Wamba man Zoy Frangos who brings his love for the theatre world and experience to the production. Whilst studying and subsequently graduating with a degree in Music Theatre from the Victorian College of Arts, Zoy made his professional opera debut in the world premiere of Pecan Summer. His other theatre credits include Les Misérables (Cameron Mackintosh / Michael Cassel Group), My Fair Lady (OA / GFO) and Rat Pack Reloaded (SMA Productions).
“Comet nails the 21st century opera, just like Les Mis was in the 80/90s, Comet along with Hamilton represents the Music Theatre Opera of now!” said Zoy.
“The eclectic musical score is full of light and shade, it’ll smack you right in the face one moment, have you dancing the next and then leave you breathless with a stunning ballad, it’s exciting, surprising, and beautiful!”
Theatre and drag based genderqueer artist Jules Pendrith will play the role of the love interest Anatole in the form-defying musical. They graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Theatre from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
Following this and after moving to Sydney, Pendrith discovered their affinity for drag artistry and created the character Johnny Gash in 2020, touring the act nationally since. Outside of drag and theatre, Jules is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist and will bring this expertise to the Eternity Playhouse stage.
The lead characters will be joined by Kala Gare as Sonya (Rent, SIX), Marissa Saroca as Helene (Passing Strange), Jillian O’Dowd as Marya (The Witches of Eastwick), Lillian Hearne as Mary (The Aqualuna Singers), P Tucker Worley as Andrey / Bolkonsky (A Chorus Line, Legally Blonde), Anton Berezin as Balaga (Evita, ONCE) and Cameron Bajraktarevic-Hayward as Dolokohv (A Christmas Carol), with Tom New and Skye Beker engaged as swings.
“These 12 unique artists have their own sound and style to add different textures to the world of Comet. We’ve gathered a dynamic cast (from within and outside of the music theatre realm) who are individually thrilling and together, represent the intersectionality of a community. We’re approaching roles in ways that haven’t been seen before, to truly put our own stamp on this production,” said Director Dean Drieberg.
Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 embraces individuals in the cast and is thrilled to showcase their creative strengths within the musical theatre production.
“Our Creative Team have assembled Australia’s finest quadruple threats to bring this world to life. These humans bring to the stage a range of performance styles that when woven together will create a bespoke experience audiences will remember for a lifetime,” said Artistic Director Amylia Harris.
Experience the lively, award-winning, and breath-taking Australian debut of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 along with the tremendously talented cast.
Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812
Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst
Season: 9 July – 20 August 2023
Information and Bookings: www.darlinghursttheatre.com
Image: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (supplied)