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Josh Groban's going from "Stages" to the (Broadway) stage

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2016

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Josh Groban says he's "inspired by work."

That's a good thing, since there's plenty of it now.

Groban has been spending much of the year on the road this summer, touring to support his Grammy Award-nominated 2015 album "Stages," a collection of Broadway favorites. He released a "Stages LIve" CD/DVD in February, and also has roles in the John Krasinski-directed film "The Hollers" and a cameo in the CBS comedy "Life In Pieces."

And later this year Groban will be on Broadway itself, making his bow on the Great White Way in "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812," Dave Malloy's pop musical drawn from a segment of Tolstoy's epic "War and Peace."

"I fear I've bitten off quite a bit more than I usually do -- but nothing I can't handle," Groban, 35, says by phone. "I like to keep moving. I've had beginnings of years where I've looked ahead and said to myself, 'I'm gonna be twiddling my thumbs here.'

"But this is a year where I've got so much inspiration and exploration lined up ahead of me, and while it's daunting it's the kind of thing that feeds me, that gets my fire going."

"Natasha, Pierre..." opens during September, with Groban will be playing piano and accordion -- which he's been studying -- in addition to singing. The former musical theater student first saw the show in a tent in New York's downtown meat packing district, and he's geeked for it to be his long-awaited Broadway debut.

"It's very different than anything I've seen or heard on Broadway," Groban says. "The album ('Stages') is a tribute to the kinds of shows and songs that got me into this world of music in the first place, but I've always felt in my heart that if I were going to actually do eight shows a week I'd want it to be with something that was a bit surprising and unusual.

"I didn't want to be the 50th Phantom of the Opera; I wanted to try something that maybe people wouldn't expect, and it's not every day you get offered something that's challenging like that. So I'm really looking forward to this."

Learning accordion also appeals to Groban who calls himself "a Weird Al Yankovic fan since I was a kid," He's been practicing accordion every day, primarily working on the music from the show rather than becoming conversant with traditional accordion music, however.

"There is some kind of polka-sounding music in the show, so I'm sure I'll be able to translate that into my future polka album," he notes with a laugh.

Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and Foy Vance

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

Tickets are $38.50-$152.50 pavilion, $33 lawn.

Call (248) 377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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