Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Music and Lyrics by Dave Malloy
Adapted from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Directed by Alan Patrick Kenny
Music Direction by Brent Frederick
An electropop opera based on a scandalous slice of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Young and impulsive, Natasha Rostova arrives in Moscow to await the return of her fiancé from the front lines. When she falls under the spell of the roguish Anatole, it is up to Pierre, a family friend in the middle of an existential crisis, to pick up the pieces of her shattered reputation.
Great Comet Program
A NOTE FROM TANTRUMS LEADERSHIP
Welcome to Tantrum Theater’s production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy.
Welcome to Tantrum Theater’s production of Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, the first regional production of this incredible musical, which was nominated for 12 Tony awards when it was produced on Broadway. We are especially proud to present Great Comet because Dave Malloy is an alumnus of the Ohio University School of Music, and this brilliant musical is an example of his ground-breaking vision.
Based on a 70-page section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dave calls Comet an electro-pop opera and the New York Times classical music critic called it a “breathless, roughish and ravishing quasi-opera.” Focusing on Natasha, an ingénue visiting Moscow while she waits for her beloved fiancée Andrey to return from fighting the French invasion of Russia, but is seduced by the dashing (and married) Anatole. Pierre, the lonely outsider and friend of Andrey, loves Natasha from the sidelines.
Circling themes of betrayal and suffering for the Russian people during the French invasion, this tale has renewed gravity as we watch the brave people of Ukraine fight for their lives against Russia perpetrating the same horrible demonstration of thirst for power that Napoleon embodied in 1812. Our thoughts are with those in Ukraine and war refugees everywhere.
This is the first live stage production featuring students and faculty of the School of Theater’s new musical theater program. Alan Patrick Kenny, Director, is Head of the Musical Theater program, and his colleague in the program, Brent Frederick, Music Director, was rehearsal pianist for New York City production.
Alan and Brent are supported by a creative team of Tantrum professional guest artists (*) and students: Eden Hildebrand*, Choreographer, joins us from Canada, Chris Rees, Scenic Designer, a third year MFA candidate, Shirlee Idzakovich*, Costume Designer, a Portsmouth, Ohio native who works in both costume design and fashion in New York City and Los Angeles, Jennifer Fok*, Lighting Designer from New York City, Harper Justus, Sound Designer, senior BFA candidate, and Simon Marland, Sound Mixer, second year MFA candidate. Rounding out the Tantrum guest artists for the Great Comet team are Actors’ Equity stage manager Erin Joy Swank* also an Ohio native, currently from Colorado, and our Pierre, David Rowen* who also comes to us from New York City. The cast is comprised of student singer/actors playing nine principal roles, an ensemble of 14 and four actor/musicians in addition to the 12 onstage musicians from the School of Music and dozens and dozens of technicians behind the scenes. This is an enormous undertaking that we are so proud to share with you.
In partnership with Arts West, funded by an Ohio Arts Council Arts Partnership Grant, Tantrum’s educational outreach is supporting the Athens Middle School Drama Club this semester and Audition Workshops for the Athens High School Drama Club. Check out www.ohio.edu/fine-arts/tantrum-theater/education for summer workshops offerings.
Tantrum’s 2022-2023 season begins with a play about The Berry Hotel, (now commemorated by a plaque at 18 N. Court Street) our first commissioned production, written by Jacqueline Lawton and directed by Martine Kei Rogers-Green. We are delighted to partner with the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society to present this wonderful new play inspired by the Black history of Athens and made possible by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Thank you for joining us for this incredible night of music and theater!
Michael Lincoln, Artistic Director
Josh Coy, Producing Director
COMET FAMILY TREE
David Rowen* (Pierre) [he/him] Off-Broadway: Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. NYC: Carnegie Hall, Prospect Theatre Company. Regional: Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Studio Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. TV: Fosse/Verdon (FX). David,s YouTube channel has 14K subscribers and 4M views; he performs worldwide with the USO Show Troupe; the award-winning a cappella trio, Iris; and various symphony orchestras. He holds a Bachelor of Music from James Madison University. @davidrowen_
Julia Kuzmich (Natasha) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater and Performing Arts Health and Wellness Certificate, Third Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Dance Captain and Anna U/S), People Places and Things (Ensemble) Through, by the School of Dance (Dancer). Film: Hear Me Not by Eve Zhao (Chloe), Daughter by Lindsey Martin and Kass Richards (Daughter).
Rhys Carr (Anatole) [they/he] Caribbean American. BFA, Musical Theater Second Year. Ohio University: Absentia (Tyler), Spring Awakening (Ernst), People, Places and Things (Ensemble), Eighty-Sixed (Dennis). Film: An Iliad (Voice C). Co-Community Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for Vibrancy Theater vibrancytheater.com
Megan Collina (Hélène) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Wendla), People Places and Things (Ensemble).
Caroline Donato (Sonya) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: The Women of Lockerbie (Woman 1). Tantrum Theater: Spring Awakening (Ensemble, u/s Wendla). Other: Romeo & Juliet (Lord Capulet) Weaver Academy; Godspell (Jesus) Greensboro Performing Arts. She would like to give a special thanks to her families at GPA and Weaver Academy.
Holden Evans (Dolokhov) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Eighty-Sixed (BJ Rosenthal) Tantrum Theater, Spring Awakening (Ensemble/Melchior u/s) Tantrum Theater, Angels in America Millennium Approaches (Joe Pitt). Other: Roundtown Players, Dramatic Braves.
Forrest Haasl (Balaga/ Actor-Musician) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Ensemble/Otto Understudy), Eighty-Sixed (Carlo/Ensemble). Other: Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Prince) Rock River Repertoire, Ghost: The Musical (Priest/Orlando/Ensemble) Rock River Repertoire.
Lauren Janoschka (Mary/ Dance Captain) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Ensemble, u/s Martha) Tantrum Theater, People, Places, and Things (Laura). Other: Little Women (Amy) Digital Workshop Production, Rock Ridge Performing Arts. CAHS.
Kaylee Michael (Marya) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: The Women of Lockerbie (Woman 2). Other: Godspell (Robin) The Carnegie, Into the Woods (The Baker’s Wife), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive Ostrovsky) Loveland High School, Coney Island Amusement Park Entertainment.
Tommy Page (Andrey/Bolkonsky) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Melchior) Tantrum Theater, Eighty-Sixed (Zach/Man 1) Tantrum Theater. Other: Avenue Q (Princeton) Youtheatre, Crazy For You (Bobby Child) North Country Community Theater.
Sean McGlynn (Ensemble/ Anatole u/s) [he/she/they] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Hanschen).
Geneviève Shaftel (Ensemble) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Ohio University: Men on Boats (Bradley) Tantrum Theatre, Spring Awakening (Anna) Tantrum Theatre. Other: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Marie), Almost Maine (Marvalyn) Hopewell Valley Central High School, Broadway Back to School (Soloist) Educational Theatre Foundation, Bright Star (Featured Ensemble) Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute.
Lily Boulard (Actor-Musician) [they/them] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Ohio University: The Revolutionists (Charlotte Corday).
Colleen Clark (Actor-Musician/Marya u/s/ Assistant Dramaturg) [she/her] BFA, Acting, Second Year. Ohio University: Men on Boats (O.G. Howland). Other: Room For Improvment Improv Troupe (Ensemble) Vibrancy Theater, RENT (Mimi) Virginia Thespian Society, Peter Pan: A Steampunk Adventure (Captain Hook) Rock Ridge Performing Arts.
Reed Hickerson (Actor-Musician) [he/him] BFA, Acting, First Year. Other: Much Ado About Nothing (Benedick) St. Charles North, Radium Girls (Arthur Roeder) St. Charles North, The Theory of Relativity (Ryan) St. Charles North.
Adriana Holst (Actor-Musician/ u/s Hélène/ Assistant Music Director) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Summer and Smoke (Alma), Spring Awakening (Ensemble/ u/s Ilse.) Other: Carrie (Sue) The Beck Center for Performing Arts, Peter and the Starcatcher (Molly) Weathervane Playhouse. Founder of Grant a Guitar, a 501(c)(3) non-profit promoting music literacy and appreciation.
Shelby Merchant (Roving Accordion/Ensemble) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater and Playwriting, Second Year. Ohio University: Summer and Smoke (Nellie and Rosemary u/s). Other: The Stuff Dreams are Made of (Olivia) Minor’s Alley Playhouse; Disenchanted (Belle/Ariel) Estes Park Theatre Company.
Sebastian Yobé–Bowen (Actor-Musician, u/s Andrey/Bolkonsky) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Young Actors Theater Strasbourg: Fame Jr. (Schlomo), Anything Goes (Moonface Martin), The Fantastiks (Hucklebee), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Assistant Musical Director, Book Voice), Cabaret (Assistant Musical Director), Grease (Assistant Musical Director).
Cassie Cope (Ensemble/ Dance Captain) ) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: Summer and Smoke (Nellie Ewell) Other: Parade (Mary Phagan) Keegan Theatre; Hairspray (Shelley) Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Anne of Green Gables: The Musical (Anne Shirley), West Side Story (Anybodys), Grey Gardens (Jaqueline Bouvier) Little Theater of Alexandria; Sheila and Moby (Courtney) Flying V Theatre.
Abby Golden (Ensemble/ u/s Mary) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Ohio University: Macbeth (Young Macduff). Other: Parade (Iola Stover) French Creek Theater, The Wedding Singer (Julia) St. Ignatius Breen Center, Sunday in the Park with George (Louise) True North Cultural Arts.
Ben Griffithe (Ensemble) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theatre, First Year.
Kekoa Huihui-Andrew (Ensemble/ Balaga u/s) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, First-Year. April 2022: Dog Sees God (CB).
Aidan Kelly (Ensemble/ Dolokhov u/s/ Fight Captain) [he/him] BFA, Acting, Third Year, Ohio University: Blood at the Root (Colin).
Grace Larger (Ensemble) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, First Year. Other: The Secret Garden (Claire Holmes) The Garden Theater.
Joey Negrete (Ensemble) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, First-Year. Karma, Adulting, and Forgiveness (Brad).
Charley Peck (Ensemble) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, First Year. Other: Merrily We Roll Along (Charley Kringas), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Andrew Jackson) Mercury Theatre Company. Les Miserables (Jean Valjean) Near West Theatre. The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (Percy Jackson, Fight Captain) Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute. April 2022: Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (Director).
Sarah Riley (Ensemble/US Sonya) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Ohio University: Spring Awakening (Thea), The Revolutionists (Olympe). Other: Carrie (Chris) Straw Hat Theater, Grease (Sandy) G.B Theatre, The Addams Family (Wednesday Addams) G.B Theatre.
Brooklynn Stanley (Ensemble/ Natasha u/s) [she/her] BFA, Musical Theater, Second Year. Other: Guys and Dolls (Ensemble, Dance Captain) Roundtown Players, The Music Man (Zaneeta Shinn) Roundtown Players, Tinker’s Toy Factory (Ribbons) Cedar Fair Entertainment.
Robby Yoho (Ensemble, u/s Pierre) [he/him] BFA, Musical Theater, Third Year. Ohio University: The Revolutionists (Stage Manager), Spring Awakening (Moritz Stiefel), Eighty-Sixed (Richard Wilson). April 2022: N/N (Assistant Stage Manager).
Moscow, 1812, just before Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and the burning of the city. As the story begins (“Prologue”) we meet “Pierre,” a wealthy aristocrat having an existential crisis, living a slothful life of wine, philosophy and inaction.
Meanwhile, the young, newly engaged Natasha Rostova and her cousin Sonya arrive in “Moscow” to stay the winter with Marya D., Natasha’s godmother, while Natasha waits for her fiancé, Andrey, to return from the war. Marya D. tells Natasha that she must visit her future in-laws, the demented, miserly old Prince Bolkonsky and his spinster daughter Mary (“The Private and Intimate Life of the House”), to win their affection and secure the marriage, which is critical to the Rostovs’ status and fortune. However, Natasha’s visit ends in disaster (“Natasha & Bolkonskys”), and she leaves missing Andrey more than ever (“No One Else”).
The next night Natasha is introduced to decadent Moscow society at “The Opera”; there she meets Anatole, a young officer and notorious rogue (“Natasha & Anatole”); their interaction leaves Natasha feeling confused.
Anatole, his friend Dolokhov and Pierre go out drinking; they are met by Hélène (Pierre’s wife and Anatole’s sister), who taunts Pierre. Anatole declares his intention to have Natasha, although he is already married. Pierre finds his wife’s familiarity with Dolokhov offensive and challenges him to a duel, almost getting himself killed (“The Duel”). Afterward, Pierre reflects on his life (“Dust and Ashes”). Natasha and her family go to church (“Sunday Morning”); later, Héléne arrives and invites Natasha to the ball that night (“Charming”), where Anatole seduces Natasha (“The Ball’).
Natasha and Anatole make plans to elope, and Natasha breaks off her engagement with Andrey (“Letters”). Sonya finds out about the plan and realizes it will mean Natasha’s ruin (“Sonya & Natasha’); she determines to stop her at any cost (“Sonya Alone”). That evening Anatole and Dolokhov plan for the elopement (“Preparations”) and call on their trusted troika driver, “Balaga,” to take them to Natasha’s house. However, “The Abduction” is thwarted at the last moment by Marya D.
After scolding a grief-stricken Natasha (“In My House”), Marya D. sends out “A Call to Pierre,” asking him to help handle the crisis. Pierre kicks Anatole out of Moscow (“Find Anatole”/*Pierre & Anatole”); Natasha poisons herself (“Natasha Very III”); Andrey returns, Pierre explains the scandal to him and asks him to be compassionate, but Andrey is unable to forgive (“Pierre & Andrey”). Finally, Pierre visits Natasha (“Pierre & Natasha”). After their meeting, Pierre experiences a moment of enlightenment while seeing “The Great Comet of 1812” in the night sky.
A note on the translation
The primary source for the libretto is Aylmer and Louise Maude’s 1922 translation; several other translations were also consulted, including those by Anthony Briggs, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, and Constance Garnett.
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
In January 2014, from the frigid winter air of 45th Street amidst a sea of landmark Broadway proscenium houses, I found shelter in a makeshift tent erected in a parking lot. I made my way through some scruffy corridors, through a big industrial door, and found myself in an opulent Russian supper club named Kazino. In that tent, I first encountered the work of Dave Malloy, a composer/lyricist/orchestrator/bookwriter and sometimes performer who was making musical storytelling that was nothing like the musicals on the stages of the neighboring playhouses.
Dave, along with his brilliant collaborators and cast, broke down the binary of the proscenium experience with Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and in the most unpretentious way possible, brought a sliver of an old tome to new life, in that club for that audience in that moment. The songs were adventurous and dangerous, at turns hilarious and heartbreaking, and never bound by old-fashioned rules or historical period logic. Each song rattled within us as a collective, so we didn’t just hear and see the thing, but felt it viscerally and experienced it together.
Great Comet and its immersive playland inspired me to continue to seek out work and methods of storytelling that continues to remove those barriers between performance and audience for a more essential and fulfilling theatrical experience. When I joined OHIO and discovered that Dave Malloy was an alum of the School of Music, it became a personal mission to bring Dave’s unique voice and storytelling home to Athens. As the licensing rights became available for Great Comet, Tantrum Theater promptly secured them, and we designed an immersive, in-the-round production that would put our own spin on the original production’s vision.
Then the last two years happened, and audience immersion and shared experiences became dangerous. For a year, we abandoned our performance spaces to go online and postponed our Great Comet for a time where we could be together again. Then in our journey back to the stage, we went through another development period with numerous challenges, protocols, union rules, reconfigurations, and redesigns. Our intrepid team and were singularly focused on our need to get these stories and songs onto our stage through the voices of our tremendous young performers, to share them with the OHIO community and celebrate Dave’s amazing contributions to the art form.
Reentering our rehearsal and performance spaces has been nerve-wracking, thrilling, and therapeutic. So many of us, who consider making musical theater on stage what we do, have had to relearn to ride the proverbial bike, and build trust in our ensemble to work together to make art in the face of continued adversity.
Just before the action of Great Comet takes place, several of Tolstoy’s aristocratic characters journey from their country estates and return to Moscow. Their homes, having been closed for some time, need airing and rejuvenation to become inhabitable. Like these characters, we have returned to our abandoned spaces, and have worked tirelessly to dust away the cobwebs and bring theater and our craft back, to share this indelible story, finally in shared space, with you tonight.
Alan Patrick Kenny, Director
TANTRUM THEATER PRESENTS
Michael Lincoln, Artistic Director
Josh Coy, Producing Director
NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
March 24 - 26 & March 29 - April 2 @ 8pm
Forum Theater, RTV Building
Talkbacks: Saturday 3/26 and Thursday 3/31
One 15-minute intermission
By DAVE MALLOY
ADAPTED FROM WAR AND PEACE BY LEO TOLSTOY
Erin Joy Swank*
Eryn Elyse McVay
Nicole Rankins & Luis Siva
NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals. www.concordtheatricals.com
Broadway premiere presented Howard & Janet, Paula Marie Black, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Jenny Steingart and Jason Eagan, Mary Lu Roffe and Susan Gallin, Diana DiMenna, Mary Maggio/Sharon Azrieli/Robin Gorman, Darren Sussman/Roman Gambourg/Lev Gelfer, Tom Smedes, John Logan, Lisa Matlin, Margie and Bryan Weingarten, Daveed Frazier, Argyle Productions/Jim Kierstead, In Fine Company/Hipzee, Gutterman & Caiola/Backdrop Partners, Siderow Kirchman Productions/Sunnyspot Productions, Gordon/Meli Theatricals, Rodger Hess/Larry Toppall, Daniel Rakowski/Matt Ross/Ben Feldman, Mike Karns, The American Repertory Theatre (Diane Paulus, Artistic Director; Diane Quinn, Executive Producer; Diane Borger, Producer), and Ars Nova.
Originally commissioned, developed, and world premiere produced by Ars Nova; Jason Eagan, Founding Artistic Director; Renee Blinkwolt, Managing Director.
Further developed and produced by the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University;
Diane Paulus, Artistic Director; Diane Quinn, Executive Producer; Diane Borger, Producer.
Alan Patrick Kenny (Director) Head of Musical Theater. Tantrum Theater: Spring Awakening (Director), Eighty-Sixed (Music Director). Ohio University: Sibyl (Director), Cabaret (Music Director). Other: New Stage Collective (co-founder & Producing Artistic Director, seven seasons), Utah Shakespeare Festival, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (national tour), Holland America Line, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Odyssey Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Act Louisville Productions, Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance, Real-time Music Solutions, Right on Cue Services. Publications: Oxford University Press and Routledge. MFA in Directing: UCLA. BM in Vocal Performance – Music Theatre: NYU. alanpatrickkenny.com
Brent Frederick (Music Director, Conductor, Piano) Assistant Professor in Ohio University’s Schools of Theater and Music and the Music Director for the BFA Musical Theater program. Tantrum Theater: Spring Awakening (Music Director, Music Producer). Selected Broadway: Kinky Boots (Conductor, Keyboards), The Band’s Visit (Conductor, Keyboards), Dr. Zhivago (Keyboards), …Great Comet of 1812 (rehearsal pianist). Selected National Tours: Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Music Director). Recent studio recording: Jacqueline Petroccia’s double EP Champagne & Moonshine (Producer, Arranger, Orchestrator, Keyboards). Band leader and orchestrator for the Doo Wop Project. BM in Music Education from Shenandoah Conservatory. www.BrentFrederickMusic.com
Eden Hildebrand (Choreographer) Godspell (Director/Choreographer) Stevens Dramatic Society, Image of an Unknown Young Woman (Director), Matilda (Assistant Choreographer) Moonlight Stage Productions, Ambrose University, Theatre Nantucket, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Grossmont College, San Diego Broadway Awards, La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, StoryBook Theatre. Eden is the Instructor of Musical Theatre Dance and Choreography at Southeast Missouri State University and received her MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University.
Christopher Rees (Scenic Designer) MFA, Scenic Design, Third Year. Ohio University: Summer and Smoke (Scenic Designer) Women of Lockerbie (Scenic Designer), Effective Magic (Scenic Designer), Silent Sky (Lead Scenic Artist) Other: Tantrum Theater: Men on Boats (Assistant Charge Artist), Spring Awakening (Scenic Designer). West Liberty University: The Secret in the Wings (Scenic Designer), 18 Victoria (Scenic Designer). Theater West Virginia: Willy Wonka Jr. (Technical Director/Scenic Designer) Rocket Boys the Musical (Technical Director).
Shirlee Idzakovich is a professional costume designer/stylist who lives between NYC and LA. She is a designer who works on Broadway, Off Broadway, as well as videos, TV, movies, and styling for red carpet and special events. She is an editor as well as curriculum editor/ writer for the NAA/NEA for high school students in costume design and costume construction. She has a Facebook group, Costuming for Everyone, in which she mentors young designers. She has taught or costumed in 41 states and 3 continents.
Jennifer Fok (Lighting Designer) is a Chinese American NYC-based designer. Select designs have been seen at Theatreworks Colorado Springs, Beth Morrison Projects, Na-Ni Chen Dance, Gala Hispanic, Long Wharf, Lincoln Center Education, Syracuse Stage, Flint Repertory Theatre, Detroit Public Theatre, Kitchen Theatre, Brown / Trinity MFA, The Know Theater Of Cincinnati, Brother(hood) Dance, NCPA Beijing, Ars Nova, and Theatre At Monmouth. BFA in Theatre Production and Design from Ithaca College. www.jenniferfok.com
Harper Justus (Sound Designer) BFA, Production Design and Technology, Fourth Year. Ohio University Sound Design: Be Head, The Women of Lockerbie, Pluto. Assistant Sound Design: Macbeth, Sunny Days. Other: Brick Monkey Theatre Ensemble, Pioneer Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival.
Erin Joy Swank* (Stage Manager) [she/her] Other: Pagliacci, Opera Memphis; Trial by Jury & Scalia/Ginsberg, Opera Naples; Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Gaylord Rockies; Measure for Measure, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Co-author, Off Headset: Essays on Stage Management Work, Life, and Career (Routledge, January 2022); Guest Lecturer (Fall 2021), Wright State University; Vice-Commissioner of Management, United States Institute for Theatre Technology; Regional Rep, Past Webinars Chair, Stage Managers’ Association; Western Stage Manager Convention Delegate, Actors’ Equity. http://www.erinjoyswank.com/
Nicole Hankins (Co-Technical Director) MFA, Technical Direction, First Year. Ohio University: Absentia (Co-Technical Director). Other: Earlham College, The Book of Will (Scenic Designer and Shop Supervisor), Dance Alloy 2019 (Lighting Designer), The Poe Project (Scenic Designer), Company (Asst. Scenic Designer), The Misadventures of Martin Hathaway (Lighting Designer), Moon Over Buffalo (Asst. Scenic Designer), Long Ago and Far Away (Lighting Designer), Much Ado About Nothing (Carpenter/Painter), The Last Stop (Electrician), She Kills Monsters (Electrician).
Luis Silva (Co-Technical Director) MFA, Technical Direction, First Year. Ohio University Technical Director: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Absentia, 2022-23 Season: Yerma, The Berry Hotel. Other: Healthy Humor Inc, Florida International University, Milam’s Circus, Miami Dade College. Abroad: PPPPTK Seni dan Budaya, Akeké Circo Teatro, Asociación Cultural Skena.
Julia Lisowski (Props Designer/ Master) MFA, Prop Technology, Third Year. Ohio University: Summer and Smoke (Assistant Props Master) This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagine a Republic (Props Master), She Kills Monsters (Artisan), Rhinoceros (Artisan), Silent Sky (Artisan) Other: Utah Shakespeare Festival, Shenandoah Summer Music Theater, Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University and The Rose Theater. She has a BFA from Shenandoah University.
Brigitte Bechtel (Charge Scenic Artist) is a professional scenic artist. She and her paintbrushes have collaborated with Cobalt Studios, The Cape Playhouse, Emerson College, Mystic Scenic Studios, Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and Arizona Theatre Company, to name a few. She earned a MFA in Production Design at Michigan State University. www.brigittebechtel.com
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
In 1862, at the age of 34, Russian noble Lev (Leo) Tolstoy found himself back in the estate where he was born, now finished with his military service, settling down with his young wife, and obsessed with finding the key to life’s true happiness. He had experienced military combat, felt the death of close loved ones, including both his parents, many of his caretakers, and some siblings; he’d inherited a fortune, gambled it away, fathered an illegitimate son, and despite his varied life experiences, still, the secret to true happiness eluded him. No longer a roguish military man, or a formal academic student, Tolstoy now spent most of his time at home, leading a comparatively quiet life to the one he’d been used to. Considering Tolstoy’s own journey so closely mirrors that of his awkward hero Pierre, it’s no surprise that during this time Tolstoy wrote the now legendary novel War and Peace.
Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 adapts a less than 100-page section of the seminal Russian text into a full-length Electropop opera. In its 2016 Broadway premiere at the Imperial Theater, Great Comet, which was performed as a 360-degree immersive experience, bent the rules of theater and convention. In the show, actors ran up and down the aisles, instruments in hand, and proudly proclaimed to the audience, “You are at the opera!” Malloy acknowledges the complexity of the opera’s source material, breaking the fourth wall, and inviting everyone to use their programs to keep track of the intricate family trees. Great Comet explodes with color, light, and life, marrying Malloy’s signature “crunchy” melodies with Russian musical influences and motifs. In short, Great Comet is a raucous night at the theater, one you feel would be best enjoyed over many shots of vodka at a card table strewn with spilled wine, coin, and clothing.
Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace unfolds over a thousand pages to follow a cast of Russian nobility (some more noble than others) as they attempt to navigate their lives through war, love lost and found, fortunes inherited then gambled away, and overall grapples with the question that haunted Tolstoy for 84 years, what is the meaning of life? We see this quest for answers mirrored most directly in Comet’s protagonist, Pierre. Like Tolstoy, Pierre has a tumultuous marriage, and mourns the man he once was: a man of ideas and philosophy, now spending his days drinking and gambling, going through day by day without a sense of real purpose. Juxtapose Pierre to Comet’s other titular character, Natasha, who at the start of Comet, is everything Pierre isn’t; hopeful, romantic, and naive. Her solo, No One Else, not only lyrically stands apart from other pieces, expressing longing and belief in true love and fate, but musically as well. In a rare moment of solitude on stage, Natasha sings of her commitment to her absent fiancé Andrey, music lilting and light, simple yet complex. These two characters both embody and bring forward the major investigations within the text: status, society, love, sex, pleasure, violence, and above all, a pursuit of meaning. What is the best path to travel in our own quests to find the key to true happiness, if such a key exists at all?
Elyse McVay, Dramaturg
TANTRUM THEATER STAFF
Michael Lincoln (Artistic Director, Tantrum Theater) Michael began teaching at Ohio University in 2003, served as Director of the School of Theater from 2012 to 2020, and is now Professor Emeritus of Theater. Previously Michael taught for New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Southern California. His professional lighting design career numbers over 300 productions in theatre, opera and dance and includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and international venues. Highlights: Copenhagen on Broadway, The Bubbly Black Girl… at Playwrights Horizons in NYC, and A Streetcar Named Desire for the Cleveland Play House and Tantrum Theater’s Next to Normal, Caroline, Or Change and Little Shop of Horrors. Michael’s extensive regional credits include long associations with Indiana Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC as well as multi-year associations with Los Angeles Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Santa Fe Opera. His multiple Broadway credits as an Associate Designer include hit revivals of Guys and Dolls and Anything Goes and original productions of City of Angels, Six Degrees of Separation, and Lend Me a Tenor. www.michaellincoln.net
Joshua Coy (Producing Director) Josh is an arts administrator, arts advocate, and performer whose most recent administrative roles prior to joining Tantrum include Executive Director of the Wayne Center for the Arts, Executive Director of the Ohio Arts Presenters Network, and Director of Artists Programs at the Ohio Arts Council. For the past decade, his primary performance outlet has been as a banjo player across the Ohio valley region, and previous favorite theatrical roles include Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors), Feste (Twelfth Night), Uncle Jack (Dancing at Lughnasa), and Edmund (Long Day’s Journey into Night). He holds an MA in Dramatic Writing from Ohio University, an MA in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University, and a BA in Theater from Westminster College (PA).
Rebecca VerNooy (Director of Education) is a movement theatre artist, actress, and educator. Her early solo work was produced at Dixon Place, P.S. 122, and the Judson Church. She was the Artistic Director of VerNooy Dance Theatre from 1995–2006, developing and performing original work at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Dance Theatre workshop, Joyce Soho, and many other NYC venues. Her one-woman show, Across Time, premiered at The United Solo Festival in New York (November, 2012), and won the award for “best movement.” Ms. VerNooy has spent twenty years creating her own brand of physical theatre and facilitating workshops designed to generate new theatrical work. She ran the Intern Program and an Acting/Writing Lab at E.S.T. from 1996–2001, directing and producing over a dozen evenings of new work by emerging theatre artists. Her most recent plays include Here, Somewhere (2014) and Elbows off the Table (2015). Rebecca is the founder of The Movement Educator’s Research Group (MERGE), a collaborative research group for movement educators across the country. She has a BA in performance from Hampshire College and a master’s degree from The Gallatin School at New York University. She is currently a faculty member in Ohio University’s School of Theater, and a founding member of Brick Monkey Theatre Ensemble.
Roberto Di Donato (Assistant Artistic Director) Roberto is a Venezuelan-American artist from the colonized territories originally known as home for the Tawakoni and Wichita nations of Texas. His translation of the Nobel Prize Laureate, Luigi Pirandello, has been seen in NYC and is projected for an Off-Broadway Revival in 2022. At Ohio University, Roberto’s work includes Everybody, The Women of Lockerbie, Effective Magic, and AD on Tantrum Theater’s Rhinoceros. He is working on his debut novel that reflects the complexities of Latin identity in the world of capitalist art making. Roberto is also co-Executive Producer for Vibrancy Theater as well as Associate Artistic Director of Frank Wo/Men Collective, the award winning Austin-Based performance collective. Frank Wo/Men was named “The Best of Austin” for their work and listed as “Top Arts Related Thing to Do” by the Austin Chronicle. robertodidonato.net
Molly H. Donahue (Assistant Producing Director/Lead Covid Safety Manager) is a first year MFA Directing student. She has spent the last seven years in Chicago working in the store front theatre scene, experimenting and producing immersive theatre with companies such as (re)discover theatre and The Barrens Theatre Co. Recent credits include The Door: a theatre for one experience (Director/Creator, Ohio University), Bloody Bathory (Director/Developer, Barrens Theatre Co.), “Out of Time: a 24 hr immersive theatre fest” (Creator/Producer, Barrens Theatre Co.), 50 Shades of Shakespeare (Director, (re)discover theatre), The Guest; For One (Director/Developer, (re)discover theatre). And most recently, Concord Floral for Ohio University School of Theater.
ASSOCIATE LIGHTING DESIGNER
CHARGE SCENIC ARTIST
COSTUME SHOP SUPERVISOR
DECK STAGE MANAGER
ASSISTANT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/COVID SAFETY MANAGER
Tyler Everett Adams
ASSISTANT MUSICAL DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT LIGHTING DESIGNER
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGERS
Lily Welsh, Connor Gothard, Quentin Kurtz
ASSISTANT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT PROP MASTER
ASSISTANT MASTER ELECTRICIAN
ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR/ASSISTANT COVID SAFETY MANAGER
LIGHT BOARD PROGRAMMER
LEAD SCENIC ARTIST
CRAFTS HEAD ASSISTANTS
ELECTRIC SHOP MANAGER
LIGHT BOARD OPERATOR
SPOT LIGHT OPERATORS
SOUND SHOP MANAGER
SOUND BOARD OPERATOR
PUBLICITY/FRONT OF HOUSE
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS & PARTNERS
Director, School of Theater: Merri Biechler
Associate Director, School of Theater: Steven Leffue
School of Theater Faculty & Staff
The SHAPe Clinic
Ohio University School of Music
Ohio University School of Dance
Dr. Christi Camper Moore
Federal Valley Resource Center Musical Instrument Lending Library
Arts West SEO Musical Instrument Lending Library
Katrina Yaukey of Main Squeeze Accordions, Inc
Percusion provided by Ohio University School
of Music and the Federal Valley Resource
Center Music Instrument Library
Melissa Hill Grande
Dr. Christopher Fisher
Dr. Rosa Rocha
Dr. William Talley
Dr. Matthew James
Dr. Michele Fiala
Dr. Rebecca Rischin
Dr. Matthew Shaftel
Joyce A. Swank
WSHU Public Radio
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
How to reach us
Tantrum Theater Administrative Office
19 South College Street
1 Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 45701
740 593 4818
The use of any recording device, either audio or video, and the taking of photographs, either with or without flash, is strictly prohibited. Please turn off all electronic devices such as cellular phones, beepers and watches.
Illuminated signs above each door indicate emergency exits. Please check for the nearest exit. In the event of an emergency, you will be notified by theater personnel and assisted in the evacuation of the building.
Everyone must have a ticket. Sorry, no children in arms or on laps. Patrons who leave the theater during the performance will be reseated at the discretion of house management. Those who become disruptive will be asked to leave the theater.
The Forum Theater in the RTV Building is fully accessible to those with mobility issues. When booking tickets, please let our Box Office know if you require a ticket that will accommodate a wheelchair. Please call Ledger Free, Director of Audience Services, at 917-733-0081 if you need any assistance during your visit. We are here to help you!