There's a war going on out there somewhere and Josh Groban isn't here.
Groban said goodbye to 19th century Russia as he took his final bow in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 on Sunday, July 2nd at the Imperial Theatre.
Groban has relished in playing Pierre from the start. He made his Broadway debut on October 18, 2016 and proved to audiences that there was far more to his angelic, velvet voice. Groban had to rough up his vocals in order to play Pierre, who is a generous, miserable, drunken man on the search for a greater meaning to life. Not only did he have to sound like Pierre, he also had to look like Pierre. If you were thinking that Groban recently packed on the pounds, think again. Fun fact: to fit the role he wore a fat suit every night to help add some extra padding to show that Pierre is physically in bad shape. Pierre is by no means clean shaven, so Groban also had to let his beard and hair grow out. Now, I wonder if he will hang on to his brunette locks for a little bit longer?
Dave Malloy masterfully created and originated the role of Pierre before the show made it to Broadway, and now Groban is passing on the torch to Hamilton's Okieriete "Oak" Onaodowan, who will take over the role as Pierre on July 11 (Malloy will be stepping into the role in the meantime). Onaodowan is best known for originating the role of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in Hamilton. There's no doubt that Onaodowan will be great, but it's bittersweet to see Groban leave. Groban, who is now 36, seems to better fit the age range of Pierre. But I'm excited to see what new, fresh take Onaodowan brings to the character.
I did not see The Great Comet in its early stages at Ars Nova or inside of the tent, but I was fortunate enough to see the show in January on Broadway. From the beauty and transformation of the Imperial (the lighting itself is worth the ticket price), to the warm perogies, handwritten love letters, and the fact that the entire cast was less than ten feet away, this is a show that I will never forget and it is something that everyone should truly experience. It's like nothing you have ever seen on Broadway. For me, every song was a masterpiece, but "Dust and Ashes" is the definition of a show-stopping number. I could happily listen to Groban belt out this tune on repeat for the rest of my life.
Where to now? Where can he go now? Hopefully, Groban will come back to Broadway very soon and bless us all once again with his incredible talent. Until then, bravo, bravo!