Dave Malloy

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Dave Malloy
Dave Malloy.jpg
Malloy in 2013
Born (1976-01-04) January 4, 1976 (age 43)
Alma materOhio University
OccupationComposer, writer, performer, orchestrator, sound designer
Years active2000–present
Spouse(s)Eliza Bent

Dave Malloy (born January 4, 1976) is an American composer, playwright, lyricist, and actor. He has written several theatrical works, often based on classic works of literature. They include the Tony Award winning Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera based on War and Peace; the chamber choir musical Octet, the song cycle Ghost Quartet, and Preludes, a musical fantasia set in the mind of romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.


Malloy grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland and began making theater in San Francisco in 2000.[1] Early work included pieces with Banana Bag & Bodice, for whom has been the composer since 2002.[2]

In 2008 he composed music for Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage, a Banana Bag & Bodice SongPlay written by Jason Craig and commissioned by the Shotgun Players in Berkeley, California. Beowulf received the 2008 Glickman Award and a 2011 Edinburgh Herald Angel, and has played a number of venues and festivals, including Berkeley Repertory’s Roda Theatre, ART’s Club Oberon, Joe’s Pub, and festivals in England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.[3]

After Beowulf, he co-created and performed in Three Pianos, a drunken romp through Schubert’s "Winterreise" (with Rick Burkhardt and Alec Duffy, directed by Rachel Chavkin) that premiered in 2010 at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, winning a Special Citation Obie Award, and had runs at New York Theatre Workshop and American Repertory Theater.[4]

His next work was Beardo, a Russian indie rock musical based on the life of Rasputin, which Malloy wrote with Beowulf collaborator Jason Craig. It played in 2011 in San Francisco and had its New York premiere in February 2017 in a production by Pipeline Theater Company.

For Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Malloy was the composer, lyricist, orchestrator, music director and performer in the role of Pierre Bezukhov. Comet was commissioned by Ars Nova and premiered there in October 2012, directed by Chavkin; in May 2012 the show transferred to Off-Broadway playing in Kazino, a tent custom-built for the piece, first erected in the Meatpacking District and then in Times Square. In December 2015 the show played a pre-Broadway run at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show has won an Obie Award, the 2013 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, the Off Broadway Alliance's Best New Musical Award, three Elliot Norton Awards, eight IRNE Awards, eleven Lucille Lortel Awards nominations (winning three), five Drama Desk nominations, and two Drama League Award nominations.[5][6] It opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in October 2016 with Josh Groban as Pierre. Malloy reprised his role as Pierre multiple times throughout the run, and was the final Broadway Pierre.

Ghost Quartet opened in October 2014 at the Bushwick Starr. After an extended sold out run, the piece transferred to the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, and has since played in a number of cities, including Edinburgh, San Francisco, and Cambridge, where it won an Elliot Norton Award. The piece is a staged concept album, about love, death, and whiskey.[7] This was followed by Preludes, a piece about Rachmaninoff and hypnosis that premiered at Lincoln Center Theater in June 2015.

Octet, a chamber choir musical written by Malloy and directed by Annie Tippe, ran at the Signature Theatre Company Residency 5 Theatre in New York City from April 30 to June 30, 2019. The show features an eight-part a cappella chamber choir and "explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st century technology" premiered in a limited run at the Signature Theatre Company in New York City.[8] It is the first part of his Signature Residency, which will include three shows over the course of five years.[9]

A musical based on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick with book, music, lyrics, and orchestrations by Malloy and directed by Rachel Chavkin will run at the American Repertory Theater from December 3, 2019 to January 12, 2020.[10] The middle section of the show, titled Moby Dick, Part III: The Ballad of Pip was previewed at Joe's Pub back in March of 2014.[11]

Malloy lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Major works[edit]

  • Moby-Dick (2019) (composer/writer; directed by Rachel Chavkin)
  • Octet (2019) (composer/writer; directed by Annie Tippe)
  • Dewdrops: A Requiem (2018) (composer/writer)
  • Little Bunny Foo Foo (2018) (composer; written by Anne Washburn, directed by Les Waters)
  • Preludes (2015) (composer/writer; directed by Rachel Chavkin)
  • Ghost Quartet (2014) (composer/writer/performer, with Brent Arnold, Gelsey Bell and Brittain Ashford, directed by Annie Tippe)
  • Black Wizard / Blue Wizard (2013) (co-creator/composer/Black Wizard; with Eliza Bent, directed by Dan Safer)
  • Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (2012) (composer/librettist/orchestrator/Pierre; directed by Rachel Chavkin)
  • All Hands (2012) (composer; written by Robert Quillen Camp, directed by Alec Duffy)
  • Beardo (2011) (composer; written by Jason Craig, directed by Patrick Dooley)
  • Three Pianos (2010) (co-creator/performer/sound & video designer; with Rick Burkhardt and Alec Duffy, directed by Rachel Chavkin)
  • Space//Space (2009) (composer, sound designer; with Banana Bag & Bodice)
  • Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage (2008) (composer/musical director/Hrothgar; with Banana Bag & Bodice)
  • Clown Bible (2007) (composer/lyricist/Job/Judas; directed by Maya Gurantz)
  • The Sewers (2005) (composer/sound designer; with Banana Bag & Bodice)
  • Sandwich (2003) (co-creator, with Banana Bag & Bodice)[12]


In addition to the full cast recordings listed below, rough recordings and demos to most of Malloy's shows can be found on his website.

  • Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (Original Cast Recording) — Released on October 29, 2013 through Ghostlight Records. Features Malloy as Pierre. A "Highlights" version was also released.
  • Ghost Quartet — A studio recording of the show featuring Malloy's vocals was released on October 31, 2015 through Blue Wizard Music.
  • Preludes (Original Cast Recording) — Released on January 8, 2016 through Ghostlight Records.
  • Ghost Quartet: Live at the McKittrick — A live recording of the show featuring Malloy's vocals released on July 1, 2016 through Blue Wizard Music.
  • Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (Original Broadway Cast Recording) — Released on May 19, 2017 through Reprise Records.
  • Octet (Original Cast Recording) — A Kickstarter was launched to fund the album on June 19, 2019, where it was fully funded in one day. The album is planned to come out sometime in August 2019.[13]

Honors and awards[edit]

He is the winner of two OBIE Awards,[14] a Richard Rodgers Award, Glickman Award, ASCAP New Horizons Award, Jonathan Larson Grant, and New Music USA Grant, a recipient of the 2009 NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Theatre Directors and Designers, and the 2011 Composer-in-Residence at Ars Nova.[15] In 2017, Malloy was the recipient of Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award for History.[16]

Year Award Category Work Result
2007 East Bay Express, Best of 2007 Best Music Clown Bible Won
2008 Glickman Award Best New Play Beowulf — A Thousand Years of Baggage Won
2009 Innovative Theatre Award Best Music Nominated
2010 Obie Award Special Citations Three Pianos Won
2011 Henry Howes Design Award Best Sound & Video Design Nominated
Edinburgh Stage Award for Acting Excellence Best Ensemble Beowulf — A Thousand Years of Baggage Won
2012 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater Beardo Nominated
2013 Obie Award Special Citations Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Nominated
Outstanding Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater Won
ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award Won
Off-Broadway Alliance Awards Best New Musical Won
Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
2015 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music Ghost Quartet Nominated
Drama League Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Off-Broadway Alliance Awards Best Unique Theatrical Experience Nominated
2016 Elliot Norton Award Outstanding Visiting Production Won
2017 Tony Award Best Book of a Musical Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 Nominated
Best Original Score Nominated
Best Orchestrations Nominated
Best Musical Nominated
Theatre World Award Honoree
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music Beardo Nominated


  1. ^ Schulman, Michael. "Rocking Out to “War and Peace”". The New Yorker, June 13, 2013
  2. ^ Cote, David. "Theater in New York: Q&A with Dave Malloy". Time Out New York, March 26, 2013
  3. ^ "Beowulf". Banana Bag & Bodice. New York.
  4. ^ Soloski, Alexis. "New York Theatre Workshop Uncorks Three Pianos" Village Voice, November 24, 2010
  5. ^ Weinert-Kendt, Rob. "The Composer Wears Many Hats" New York Times, May 23, 2013
  6. ^ Cox, Gordon. "‘Here Lies Love,’ ‘Great Comet’ Shatter Records in Lortel Nominations" Variety, April 1, 2014
  7. ^ Kozinn, Allan. "Malloy’s ‘Ghost Quartet’ to Play in Chelsea’s McKittrick Hotel" NY Times, December 11, 2014
  8. ^ . Signature Theatre Company https://www.signaturetheatre.org/shows-and-events/Productions/2018-2019/Octet.aspx. Retrieved April 25, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "First Look at the World Premiere of Dave Malloy's Octet Off-Broadway". Playbill. May 2, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  10. ^ "Dave Malloy & Rachel Chavkin to Debut Moby-Dick Musical at American Repertory Theater". broadway.com. April 24, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Public Theater Archive: Moby Dick Part III". Public Theater. March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  12. ^ "Resume page". Composer's website. New York.
  13. ^ "Octet Original Cast Recording". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  14. ^ "Obie Awards". Obie Awards.
  15. ^ "Author biography page". Samuel French. New York.
  16. ^ "2017 American Ingenuity Award Winners". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2018-10-16.

External links[edit]