Review Roundup: GATSBY Makes its World Premiere at A.R.T.

The musical features a score by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and a book by Martyna Majok.

By: Jun. 14, 2024
Review Roundup: GATSBY Makes its World Premiere at A.R.T.
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The world premiere of Gatsby at A.R.T. is now open! F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby is coming to new life in an all new musical with a score by international rock star Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine) and Oscar and Grammy Award nominee Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok (Cost of Living). 

Gatsby is staged by Tony Award-winning director Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; Moby-Dick) with choreography by Tony Award winner Sonya Tayeh (Moulin Rouge!) and music supervision by Kimberly Grigsby (Days of Wine and Roses: The Musical). 

Get a first look at the musical here.

The cast includes Matthew Amira (Wilson), Adam Grupper (Wolfsheim), Cory Jeacoma (Tom), Charlotte MacInnes (Daisy), Solea Pfeiffer (Myrtle), Isaac Powell (Gatsby), Ben Levi Ross (Nick), and Eleri Ward (Jordan). The ensemble includes Nick Bailey, Kailey Boyle, Runako Campbell, Jada Clark, Joshua Grosso, Alex Haquia, Gabriel Hyman, Matt Kizer, Lorenzo Pagano, Christopher Ralph, Christopher M. Ramirez, Shea Renne, Aliza Russell, Shota Sekiguchi, and Maya Sistruck. Swings are Cameron Burke, Jacob Burns, Mia DeWeese, Paige Krumbach, and Justin Gregory Lopez. Standby for Gatsby is Sam Simahk. Sasha Carrier, Kendall Coté, and Elba Paramino (Pammy) alternate in the role of Pammy.

Read the reviews for Gatsby at A.R.T. below!

Terry Byrne, The Boston Globe: Full disclosure: The Great Gatsby was not my favorite Fitzgerald novel. Nick's narration always kept me at arm's length from what seemed to me shallow, grasping characters. But Majok, who writes so eloquently of striving and struggle when the odds are stacked against you, finds the complex center of these individuals, digging into the desires that drive them. And Welch and Bartlett tap into Welch's uncanny ability to tell stories in songs that build to sweeping vocal crescendos while imbuing lyrics with tender emotion. The songs amplify Majok's storytelling, which plays fast, but not too loose, with Fitzgerald's text, following through on suggestions of Nick's homosexuality, making the golfer Jordan more interesting with her own gender fluidity, and heightening the tension between Tom and Daisy and the raw, physical desire between both Tom and Myrtle and Daisy and Gatsby.

Bob Verini, Variety: Pfeiffer and Amira’s climactic confrontation is perhaps the evening’s dramatic highlight, and Adam Grupper contributes a showstopper of a flashback as the genial but sinister Wolfsheim, teaching his mentee “James Gatz” how to con the public with an act that “looks like Heaven but feels like Hell.” At a time when one presidential candidate is offering a heavenly vision of a bygone America punctuated by hellish images of a “new Reich,” “Gatsby” couldn’t be any more timely.

Lynne Weiss, Stage and Cinema: I needn’t have worried. I would urge anyone who can do so to see this very satisfying production. While film adaptations of the novel have tended to revel in the jazz-age excess of Gatsby’s lifestyle and the tragedy of Gatsby himself, this version brings forward the lives of the two female leads, Daisy and Myrtle, and Myrtle’s working-class husband Wilson. Nick’s search for meaning and a reason to live in the wake of World War I and the “plague” (influenza pandemic of 1918–1919) are also brought to the forefront, giving this production a present-day relevance that goes beyond the fascination with Gatsby’s glitzy lifestyle.

R. Scott Reedy, BroadwayWorld: The new musical “Gatsby,” being given its world premiere by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge through August 3, isn’t just great, it’s spectacular. [...] As Nick, Ben Levi Ross – remembered by local audiences as the title character in the national tour of “Dear Evan Hansen,” which played Boston’s Citizens Opera House five years ago – is fascinating to watch.

Jacquinn Sinclair, WBUR: In the A.R.T. version, the cast and ensemble had many spectacular moments throughout the show. Ben Levi Ross aptly portrays Nick Carraway, the narrator of this classic tragedy, who befriends his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. But Solea Pfeiffer’s Myrtle, whose vocals are impossibly gorgeous, and Charlotte MacInnes Daisy were among the fiercest.

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