The creator of “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” says the show’s producer has refused to reimburse him in full for international productions of the musical, and the artist is now going to court in an effort to enforce payment .
Dave Malloy, who wrote the book, music and lyrics for the show, has filed a petition with the New York County Supreme Court asking a judge to appoint an arbitrator to settle his dispute with producer Howard Kagan.
In the court documents filed on April 11, Malloy says he owes “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for productions of the musical that took place in Japan in 2019 and in Korea in 2021.
“The Great Comet,” an adaptation of part of the classic Tolstoy novel “War and Peace,” arrived on Broadway in 2016 after a string of Off Broadway and out-of-town productions, starting at the nonprofit Ars Nova. The musical, starring Josh Groban, won critical acclaim and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, but won only two, for landscaping and lighting, closing in 2017 at a loss.
The production has endured several previous public controversies. In 2016, Ars Nova asked the courts for help in a bitter dispute with Kagan over how the nonprofit was credited in the show’s Playbill. That dispute was settled, but the Broadway production imploded the following year after a controversy over who would star on the show following Groban’s departure, and amid questions over finances.
Lawyers for Malloy and Blue Wizard Music, the publisher of ‘Great Comet’, declined to comment; attorneys for Kagan and his Broadway producing entity Comet Lands did not respond to requests for comment.