“Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812” has announced it will close its doors next month, barely a week after controversy erupted over the show’s casting decisions.
The Tony Award-winning musical, which officially opened in November, will close on Sept. 3 for the final time after 32 preview shows and 336 regular performances.
The news comes after an announcement that Okieriete (Oak) Onaodowan, who was slated to play the lead male role through Sept. 4, would instead be replaced by Mandy Patinkin on Aug. 15.
The move was met with backlash by critics, who alleged that the change was racially motivated.
‘Great Comet’ star Okieriete Onaodowan replaced by Mandy Patinkin
Patinkin withdrew from the show shortly after.
“My understanding of the show’s request that I step into the show is not as it has been portrayed and I would never accept a role knowing it would harm another actor. I have heard what members of the community have said and I agree with them. I am a huge fan of Oak and I will, therefore, not be appearing in the show,” he said in a statement.
“Great Comet” producer Howard Kagan also apologized for the decision.
“We had the wrong impression of how Oak felt about the casting announcement and how it would be received by members of the theater community, which we appreciate is deeply invested in the success of actors of color — as we are,” he said in a statement.
Mandy Patinkin exits ‘Great Comet’ after diversity backlash
Onaodowan, who will wrap up his stay on Aug. 13., thanked fans on Instagram and urged them to see the show.
“I always try to speak from my heart with love after listening. I have listened. I’m more than grateful for all the love and support the community and fans have shown me. It makes what we do and deal with as artists easier when you know many people do indeed have your back and that you are valued for your work,” he wrote.
“In spite of everything, I am grateful to have had the time to bring this character to life with a remarkable cast that truly make the Imperial Theater a sacred place every night.”
Scott Stangland will take on Pierre from August 15-20 and creator Dave Malloy will reprise the role from August 22 to Sept. 3.
Kelli Maroney discusses her role in ‘Night of the Comet’
Brittain Ashford will return to the role of Sonya from August 15 to Sept. 3.
A national tour is in the works for 2019.
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