Home / Arts & Life / Slight Drop in ‘The Great Comet’ Ticket Sales Amid Casting Uproar

Slight Drop in ‘The Great Comet’ Ticket Sales Amid Casting Uproar


Josh Groban in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” Since he left the cast on July 2, ticket sales have been in a slump.

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Box office sales for “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” have slumped since Josh Groban left the company, and a recent casting uproar has resulted in even more uncertainty over future ticket sales.

On Monday, the Broadway League announced that the show’s ticket sales last week totaled $905,514, only slightly down from $923,571 a week earlier, and still solid for a Broadway show. But it’s considerably lower than the roughly $1.2 million “The Great Comet” typically earned with Mr. Groban, who departed from the lead role of Pierre on July 2, as scheduled.

In anticipation of the loss of Mr. Groban’s star power, the producers have sought to add more celebrities to the cast: The pop singer Ingrid Michaelson is currently onstage as Sonya, and the “Hamilton” veteran Okieriete Onaodowan was brought in as Mr. Groban’s replacement.

But last week the producers announced that Mr. Onaodowan would “make room” for the Broadway veteran Mandy Patinkin to step into the role of Pierre from Aug. 15 through Sept. 3. The move prompted outrage online, with some people taking issue with the phrasing “make room” to describe a white actor’s taking over for a black one.

On Friday, Mr. Patinkin withdrew from “The Great Comet.” “I hear what members of the community have said and I agree with them,” he told The New York Times last week. “I am a huge fan of Oak and I will, therefore, not be appearing in the show.”

In a statement, the show’s producers said: “We apologize to Mandy Patinkin for any misunderstanding and understand his decision to withdraw from the show. We had the wrong impression of how Oak felt about the casting announcement.”

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