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Great Comet’s Dave Malloy On Epic Choral Songs, Hamilton, and Showing Tunes to a New Generation

(photo: Chad Batka)

Nowdays, the commercial and insular shell that is Broadway is feeling a little less untouchable. Of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a major catalyst behind this shake-up, but the latest to breathe new life into the Great White Way has been Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, an “electro-pop opera” based on a drama-laden portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

The immersive show began at Ars Nova in 2012 and has gone through many iterations, including a funky stint in a pop-up tent in the Meatpacking District. Now, it’s landed at Broadway’s Imperial Theater, which has been totally restructured to accommodate the show’s 360-degree, immersive staging. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, it remains one of the most authentic transfers of a smaller, more experimental production to a Broadway stage I have observed.

I have seen every NYC production of this show now, and always maintained it was too odd and unique to ascend to the oh-so commercial realm of Broadway. Turns out I was absolutely wrong, and audiences and critics alike are gobbling it up with a voracious enthusiasm. (Singer Josh Groban is now in a starring role.) There is even fanart of the characters, so you know it’s real. The 12 Tony nominations don’t hurt, either.

Great Comet‘s original Broadway cast recording will be released tomorrow and is now available for first listen over at Vulture. We caught up with the show’s writer and composer Dave Malloy, fresh off his Broadway debut temporarily stepping back into the role of Pierre, to talk how the Broadway transfer has affected the show’s music and even got him a little closer to Bowie. More →

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Kristin Dombek on to How to Write a Book About Narcissists Without Becoming One

"The Selfishness of Others" (Image via Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

“The Selfishness of Others” (Image via Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Kristin Dombek’s legendary essay “How to Quit,” published in the winter 2013 edition of n+1, garnered heated word of mouth and praise from the likes of Brooklyn Magazine’s Kristen Iversen, and that was before Dombek won a Rona Jaffe award, published “Letter from Williamsburg” in The Paris Review, and got a double book deal.

The first of those books has arrived, and it’s called The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism, out this week from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, and while an essay might have a hard time making a splash in a media ocean churned by Trumpty Dumpty and the Olympics, the book has already drawn praise from the Times.
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B+B Q+A: Suicide’s Martin Rev Doesn’t Mind Being Hated

Martin Rev (Photo: Divine Enfant)

Martin Rev (Photo: Divine Enfant)

“To hear 15,000 people booing at one time, it’s an incredible sound and it’s an incredible energy to play into.”

Martin Rev — of the proto-punk, 1970s duo Suicide – is talking about opening for the Cars, whose fans didn’t exactly care for his stripped down, repetitive synth riffs and his bandmate Alan Vega’s haunting, spoken vocals.

It’s unlikely Rev (born Martin Reverby) will get trash hurled at him when he performs solo at Bowery Electric tonight — his first New York show in five years. Suicide has influenced untold scores of synth pop, new wave, industrial dance and techno sounds, not to mention The Boss himself.
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