Theatre News

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 to have UK premiere this winter

The musical is based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace 

The artwork for Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
The artwork for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

The UK premiere of Dave Malloy’s musical Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 has been announced.

The musical, inspired by a section of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, follows Natasha Rostova, who falls for a charismatic aristocrat while awaiting her fiancé’s return from the front lines. Pierre, an unlikely hero, steps in to restore her reputation. It was nominated for 12 Tony Awards on Broadway in 2017, after originally running at the Ars Nova in 2012.

The UK premiere will take place at the Donmar Warehouse from 7 December 2024 to 8 February 2025.

Directed by Tim Sheader as part of his brand new season at the venue (revealed today), with choreography by Ellen Kane and musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, this production features set design by Leslie Travers, costume design by Evie Gurney, sound design by Nick Lidster and Gareth Tucker for Autograph, and musical direction by Sam Young. The casting is directed by Pippa Ailion for Pippa Ailion and Natalie Gallacher Casting, with Fiona Dunn as associate director.

Chatting to WhatsOnStage, Sheader admitted it “wasn’t in my orbit massively – yes I know of a fair few musicals but I never watched it on Broadway, which I see as a plus, so I intend to come into it fresh. Most of all I wanted to see how the uniqueness of this Donmar space can reveal something in a piece.

“The show was first at Ars Nova, which isn’t unlike the Donmar as a venue, it’s got this wonderful, gig-like quality that felt like it’d be electric to replicate here. The direct address of the storytelling would be enhanced.

“I wanted to return to the Ars Nova scale of the production, partly also for spatial and sonic reasons. It’s a cast of 12 and a band of ten – which is quite large for the Donmar. I’m not entirely sure where we’ll be housing the band of ten backstage – I know where we’ll be housing them on-stage, but backstage is another question.

“There are a fair few fans of the show, which I find exciting. It’s become a bit of a Donmar tradition, hasn’t it, after Next to Normal and The Band’s Visit, and all the Sondheim’s, to take beloved Broadway classics and move them to the UK. It’s not a natural, easy space to choose musicals for, but I find it a bit of a joy.”