Whitefish Theatre Co. continues its 39th season with a spectacular spring production of “The Great Gatsby,” a classic drama written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and adapted for the stage by Simon Levy. Directed by WTC Artistic Director Jesse DeVine, “The Great Gatsby” runs at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish at 7:30 p.m. April 20-21 and 26-28 and 4 p.m. April 22, with a sneak preview performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19.
“The Great Gatsby” follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to mysterious, party-giving millionaire Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan.
It is here that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super-rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, he pens a tale of improbable love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles. According to the London Free Press, this sweeping show is “beautifully crafted … indeed a grand Gatsby.”
“Fitzgerald originally wanted to title this work ‘Under the Red, White and Blue,’ although this was rejected and changed to ‘The Great Gatsby’ as it was believed to be more marketable,” says DeVine. “Upon reflection, I find Fitzgerald’s original title choice more fitting as it addresses the bigger picture that I think he was aiming to tackle. While Gatsby is the focus of the play, his story is the shared experience of any man or woman that goes after the ‘American Dream.’”
For DeVine, the story’s genius “is that it reminds us that all that glitters is not always gold.” By delving into the ethical and moral compromises that people make to achieve great wealth, Gatsby “tells the enduring story of trying to find your personal moral compass and the true value of life amidst a world of deceptions, inequalities, and influence,” she adds. It’s a theme that resonates today, when income disparities are greater than ever.
The production features Anthony Mead as Jay Gatsby, Paul Jorgenson as Nick Carraway, Becky Rygg Mead as Daisy Buchanan, David Reese as Tom Buchanan, Jen Stebbins-Han as Jordan Baker, Kara Bauer as Myrtle Wilson, Stuart Green as Wilson, Andrew Matulionis as Meyer Wolfsheim, Mikey Winn as Mr. Chester McKee, Sarah Bell as Mrs. Lucille McKee, Cole Burger as a policeman, and Angie Green as Mrs. Michaels. Ensemble actors include Lindsey Gardner, Alexandra Chambers, Eden Scrafford, Lynn Grossman, Dayle Miller-Hernandez, Clifford Noga, MaryAnn Donovan, Cathy Kraft, Kona Luke, and Laurell Watson.
“The cast is superb,” observes DeVine. “It has been a joy to work together on what I hope is received as an insightful and heartfelt interpretation of a great American classic.”
Tickets for the sneak preview on April 19 are $12 for adults and $10 for students and are available only at the door with general seating. Tickets for other performances are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students, with reserved seating. Tickets are available at the Box Office, 1 Central Ave. in Whitefish, or by calling 406-862-5371 from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before performance times. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org.