The Great Comet's Lucas Steele Has a Doll and a New Pierre
by Annie Schiffmann
Not many Broadway performers have their own action figures. But Lucas Steele, who plays Anatole in The Great Comet, was surprised with one a few weeks ago. The “Anadoll" was made by Jonathan Stern, one of the bartenders at the Imperial Theater. In a phone interview, Lucas describes it as “some kind of Ken doll looking thing, and it’s dressed like Anatole and they went so far as to put lights behind it like the entrance that Anatole makes into the show.” (See a picture of the doll in Lucas' tweet below.)
It’s part of an increasingly elaborate interplay between Lucas and the house staff that goes on while the show is happening. Some days it’s Olympics judge-style paddles with numbers rating his performance. On New Year’s, it was Lucas’s face superimposed on a baby. With the Anadoll “they took it to a whole other level and I’m really grateful to them.”
It’s one of the ways that Lucas can avoid phoning it in. In 2012 The Great Comet started it’s steady climb at the Off-Broadway theater Ars Nova with Lucas and a few other cast members who are currently on Broadway. Although that may seem like a long time to be working on the same show, doing hundreds of performances works with his personality type. “I’m a writer myself. To me, nothing is ever finished. I can sit and look at something a thousand times and constantly be sort of adjusting it and reworking it.” Combine that desire to tinker with Rachel Chavkin’s staging and Lucas finds it easy to stay in the moment each night. It helps that the cast moves around the audience as the show is being performed. “You really have no other option to be present in the space while it is happening. Because if you’re not, you’re most likely going to trip over someone or fall down some sort of stairs or do something that is not on your side in any way.”
Starting in July, Josh Groban steps down as Pierre and Okieriete Onaodowan from Hamilton will be taking over the role. Lucas sees this as a gift, albeit a bittersweet one. “There is that instinct at first that goes, ‘oh, but [Josh Groban and I] had this and this’...but if you’re able to trust that, all you need to do is be there and be present with that person then everything’s going to be okay.”
And, of course, there’s always the Anadoll to hold on to for inspiration.