Thursday, June 13, 2024

Martyna Majok at a rehearsal for the “Gatsby” musical premiering May 23 at the Loeb Drama Center. Majok wrote the book for the adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. (Photo: Ken Yotsukura)

The 20th century had the Roaring ’20s, and so too will the 21st with a new musical coming to Cambridge this May.

“Gatsby” makes its world premiere at the Loeb Drama Center in a production by the American Repertory Theater that opens June 5. with previews starting May 23. Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the A.R.T. stage adaptation will be directed by Rachel Chavkin, who won a Tony award for her work on “Hadestown,” with music by Thomas Bartlett and Florence Welch of rock band Florence + The Machine.

“The Great Gatsby,” the 1925 novel about the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his former love Daisy, has long been an object of adaptation: Baz Luhrmann adapted it into a movie in 2013, and it was turned into a (different) musical last year that is on Broadway.

“The novel entered public domain in 2021, and coincidentally two entirely different musical adaptations ended up being developed simultaneously,” said Rebecca Curtiss, public relations director at the A.R.T. This one was already extended April 24 by two and a half weeks from its original expected closing date of July 21 due to popular demand, and even so is identified by the box office as having only limited availability in seating.

Chavkin, in a press release, bills her interpretation as an exploration of a romantic and painful “American tragedy” that the creative team will be able to illuminate with a “visceral visions.”

The theme is no mistake. “Its exploration of the American Dream resonates with our season’s other productions, each of which interrogated what it means to feel welcome in our country,” Curtiss said. The theater has added a tagline to publicity materials that call the play “An American myth.”

Those productions included “The Half-God of Rainfall,” a co-production with the New York Theatre Workshop; the world-premiere of “Real Women Have Curves,” based on the play by Josefina López that inspired the film by the same name; and “Becoming a Man,” about a trans man’s journey to gender acceptance.

This will be Chavkin’s fifth show with the A.R.T.: past credits include “Moby-Dick,” “Three Pianos,” “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” and “RoosevElvis.”

“Gatsby” is at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, from June 5 through Aug. 3. Tickets from $35 are available here, with discounts available to students and ticket-buyers under age 25, Blue Star families, EBT cardholders, seniors and Harvard faculty and staff.


This post was updated May 17, 2024, to reflect that the play is in previews May 23 to June 5.