Roaring into the ’20s with The Great Gatsby Musical
Florence Welch Plans a New Adaptation of the Classic Novel
by Liam O’Hara ’21 A&E Staff
One of the most notable novels in the history of American literature from the Roaring ’20s, arguably of all time, is Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. First published in 1925, the work tells the iconic story of newcomer to New York, Nick Carraway, who befriends Jay Gatsby, a shadowy businessman. The two attend extravagant parties in Gatsby’s mansion as Gatsby pines after his love interest, Daisy Buchanan.
This classic novel has thrilled readers with its lyrical prose and incisive look at the American dream. The 1925 book has also inspired a wide range of films, including, notably, Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 feature starring Leonardo DiCaprio; it has also hit the stage multiple times with shows, an opera, a ballet, and even other adaptations such as an online video game.
Florence Welch, lead singer of the indie rock band Florence and the Machine, who also received a Grammy nomination, proposed a plan to write The Great Gatsby: A New Musical. Welch will journey into the Jazz Age for this new musical project; it will be one that will offer up fortune seekers and flappers, rum runners and rich debutantes, self-made men and high society standard bearers. This rendition will provide the spine of a new stage show that is eyeing a Broadway run. There have been rumors that the post-COVID era will be the next “Roaring ’20s,” so Welch seems to be taking it literally. Welch will be working alongside Grammy and Oscar award nominee Thomas Bartlett on the musical aspect of it all. Welch has worked with Bartlett in the past through Florence and the Machine. She has always wanted to take her musical talents to the theatrical world, and Fitzgerald’s classic inspired her to create this new piece of art. Welch commented: “This book has haunted me for a large part of my life. It contains some of my favorite lines in literature. Musicals were my first love, and I feel a deep connection to Fitzgerald’s broken romanticism. It is an honor to have been offered the chance to recreate this book in song.”
Len Blavatnik and Amanda Ghost for Unigram in association with Robert Fox reported that Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok will write the book, and the show will be directed by Olivier Award nominee Rebecca Frecknall. Majok said, “I’m thrilled, honored, and inspired to work with this company of extraordinary artists, and to get to live in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s transcendent and gorgeous words. I’m also overjoyed to be reunited with Rebecca Frecknall, with whom I had the most wonderful experience working on my play, Sanctuary City.”
This musical marks the first major new Broadway-bound musical announced since the start of the pandemic, and it will for sure be coming at the right time. The producers said that they will disclose a pre-Broadway engagement and production timeline shortly. Broadway, here comes The Great Gatsby: A New Musical.