The creator of ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812’ says the show’s producer refused to fully compensate him for international productions of the musical, and the artist is now going to court to try to force the payment.
Dave Malloy, who wrote the show’s book, music and lyrics, filed a petition in New York County Supreme Court asking a judge to appoint an arbitrator to settle his dispute with producer Howard Kagan. .
In court documents, filed April 11, Malloy says he is owed “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for productions of the musical that took place in Japan in 2019 and Korea in 2021.
‘The Great Comet,’ adapted from a section of Tolstoy’s classic novel ‘War and Peace,’ came to Broadway in 2016 after a series of off-Broadway and out-of-town productions, beginning with the nonprofit lucrative Ars Nova. The musical, starring Josh Groban, won good reviews and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, but only won two, for set design and lighting, and ended at a loss in 2017.
The production endured several previous public controversies. In 2016, Ars Nova sought the help of the courts in a bitter dispute with Kagan over how the nonprofit was credited in the show’s Playbill. This dispute was settled, but the following year the Broadway production imploded after controversy over who would play the show’s lead role after Groban’s departure, and amid questions about his finances.
Lawyers for Malloy and Blue Wizard Music, the publisher of “Great Comet”, declined to comment; Attorneys for Kagan and his Broadway production entity Comet Lands did not respond to requests for comment.