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Featured Image: Emilio Madrid-Kuser

We’re shook! Following a nearly two-year run as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the Broadway smash Hamilton, Okieriete Onaodowan will replace current star Josh Groban as the title character of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 beginning July 3rd.

As reported by the New York Times, and alongside Denée Benton (who plays Natasha), Oak will lead a multi-ethnic cast in a show that isn’t even about Black characters. The musical, adapted from a section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, takes place in 19th century Russia.

Staged as an immersive, and at times, anachronistic opera at the Imperial Theatre, The Great Comet focuses on a betrothed princess’ love affair with an aristocratic hedonist just before the French invasion.

Director Rachel Chavkin feels this casting choice might “introduce a whole other side of [Oak] to everyone who loves him from Hamilton.” The pair previously worked together in the 2014 Old Globe Theater production of The Royale.

Fans will also have the chance to see Oak work out his accordion skills.

The cast also currently features Lucas Steele as Anatole, Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Amber Gray as Hélène, Grace McLean as Marya, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov, Nicholas Belton as Andrey/Bolkonsky, Gelsey Bell as Mary, and Paul Pinto as Balaga.

Sumayya Ali, Courtney Basset, Josh Canfield, Kennedy Caughell, Ken Clark, Erica Dorfler, Lulu Fall, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Nick Gaswirth, Alex Gibson, Brad Giovanine, Billy Joe Kiessling, Mary Spencer Knapp, Blaine Alden Krauss, Reed Luplau, Brandt Martinez, Andrew Mayer, Mary Page Nance, Shoba Narayan, Azudi Onyejekwe, Pearl Rhein, Celia Mei Rubin, Heath Saunders, Ani Taj, Cathryn Wake, Katrina Yaukey, and Lauren Zakrin portray various ensemble roles.

Production has wrapped on a full Broadway cast recording, featuring music, book, and lyrics by Dave Malloy. Groban, after several extensions, plays his final performance on July 2nd.

For tickets, follow the Great Comet.

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