At the end of every Broadway show, performers take one final bow, showing their gratitude to the audience and the musicians.
These talented artists perform every night, and it’s their job to do so. So they must know how good they are, right? Their humility baffles me. But somehow, every night they still manage humble composures and shine bashful grins at the end of the show. It’s as if they don’t do this every night, as if they don’t thereafter completely delight audiences to no end. In those final curtain calls, it’s like they’ve just performed the show for the first time, and the audience feels like they’re the only ones to ever experience the magic.
The cast of “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” knows a little something about that magic.
I’ve always wondered what it feels like to take those bows every night, looking out into the madly applauding audience. I wondered, “How do they still manage humility, even though they’ve done this hundreds of times, for thousands of people, and they obviously know how great they are?”
At a recent performance of “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” I was given a taste of what this experience feels like – because I was sitting on stage. When the cast took their last bows, I, along with the other 75 or so folks perched upstage, gazed out into the hundreds more in the orchestra and mezzanine.
There’s no real stage in the Imperial Theatre while it plays host to “The Great Comet.” Rather, performers run about the whole entire theatre. They perform where we sat, which is where the stage would normally be. But they also perform in the aisles, atop tables, in the mezzanine and in a tiny orchestra pit which houses the conductor, a piano, and a drum kit. The rest of the musicians are scattered throughout the theater. Some musicians are also dancers and actors, so they move around with their instruments throughout the show.
Mobile musicians included those with guitars, violins, clarinets and, most uniquely, accordions. Occasionally, one of these performers would be playing directly next to our table, flashing grins or dancing.
By far, not the ordinary Broadway experience, but wonderful never the less. Don’t miss out on this performance and go get yourself a ticket or two. You might just want to go again!
Photography by Chad Batka