Interview: THE GREAT GATSBY's Samantha Pauly Talks Originating Another Role on Broadway

Pauly discussed about her approach to the iconic character of Jordan Baker, the grand scale of the production, her bond with her cast mates, and much more. 

By: Apr. 27, 2024
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Interview: THE GREAT GATSBY's Samantha Pauly Talks Originating Another Role on Broadway
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Samantha Pauly, who originated the role of Katherine Howard in Six, is back on Broadway originating another role in a new musical, Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby! 

The Great Gatsby features music & lyrics by Tony Award nominees Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen, a book by Jonathan Larson Grant winner Kait Kerrigan, and is staged by award-winning director Marc Bruni and choreographer Dominique Kelley.

The production stars Jeremy JordanEva NoblezadaNoah J. RickettsSara ChaseJohn Zdrojeski and more. 

BroadwayWorld spoke with Pauly about her approach to the iconic character of Jordan Baker, the grand scale of the production, her bond with her cast mates, and much more. 

In preparing for this role did you re-read the book or watch any of the film adaptations or did you not want any prior interpretation of the material and the character in your mind?

I think the last time I read the book before we started the whole process was in high school when we all had to. And I re-read it once we started rehearsals, but before that I didn’t really want to watch the movie again or re-read the book because I didn’t want to have any kind of interpretation in my brain, I wanted to be able to go into the room and give who I thought Jordan Baker was based on who Sam Pauly is a little bit. So, I tried to go with what I saw in the material we were given and what I remembered just from knowing the story. I didn’t really want to have any kind of influence in my brain, I just wanted to make her something brand new.

How has it been bringing another new musical to Broadway?

It is far beyond the scope of truly anything I thought I would do in my life. I guess I never thought I would originate a role on Broadway, period. So, getting to do that with Six was one thing that was so incredibly thrilling, and I felt so incredibly lucky, but I’m also not someone that counts on anything. So, I did Six and thought, “This might be the only time I’m ever on Broadway.” And to be able to originate something again, I still have a lot of moments where I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is actually a thing that is happening to me.” Especially a character like Jordan Baker from one of the most iconic pieces of American literature of all time. I’m not super eloquent at explaining what it’s like because I still can’t quite believe this is what I’m doing.

The Great Gatsby: A New Musical

What is your favorite thing about the character of Jordan Baker?

I think my favorite thing about her is that she is so unapologetically herself, which is something I, in my everyday life, am trying to be better at. I did the show last night and was talking to someone at the stage door that I know, and they were saying, “I really love your character, because out of every character up there, she’s the only one that firmly stands in what she believes, and what she thinks is right, whether or not it’s good or bad.” I think that’s my favorite thing about her, that she’s so unapologetic, and she’s constantly looking towards the future and what it will bring.

What has it been like working with this cast?

I love them so much! I have a group chat with some of them and I was just texting them this morning a picture of my dog. They are some of the kindest, warmest, most generous—on and off stage—people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Eva has become one of my most trusted people in my life. I know that I can come to her with anything and she will be there for me, and vice versa. Noah Ricketts who plays Nick has become one of the loves of my life. I have never met someone so generous onstage and offstage. Jeremy Jordan is just on a whole other level and is one of the funniest, sweetest people I’ve ever met.

It’s another cast where I’m like, Jesus, how did I get so lucky? I felt the same way with Six, the most incredible group that supports each other, that always matches where the other person is. It’s been really refreshing in all of the chaos of opening a new show, especially right now, opening and then heading into Tony season where things are just wild and crazy, it’s really nice to be able to come to work every day and know that I have those people that are the calm in a crazy storm.

Do you have a favorite onstage moment?

Ooh! Onstage moment that I am a part of, I think it’s probably in Act Two, the duet that I get to do with Noah. We have a number called ‘Better Hold Tight’ that I really look forward to every day because it’s one I know I will always have fun, because we are dropped into the story, but we’re also definitely being ourselves on stage. So it’s a chance for us to lock eyes and reconnect and have fun with each other for five minutes.

The Great Gatsby: A New Musical

What are you most excited for audiences to see?

I think I’m most excited for audiences to see the huge scale of this production. The production is huge. I’m excited for them to see how massive it is, and how beautiful it is, and for them to hear the gorgeous 19-piece orchestra. I’m excited for all of those things, but I think the thing that I’m most excited for, amidst all of that, is for them to see these characters coming to life in a way that they might not have otherwise imaged. Especially the female characters in this story that have been amplified and given more of a voice than they had in the book itself. It’s a story that is still so timely that people can watch and still connect with, and find things that they identify with. So, I’m excited amidst all of the glitz and glamor for them to take away some of those smaller more special things too.

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