“It takes two to make an accident.”

“Can’t repeat the past?… Why of course you can!”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 6

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy. They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money … and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” — “The Great Gatsby”

Even before Carmen opens next weekend. CBT Dancers and I are putting The Great Gatsby back together to ready for the revival that opens just one week after Carmen.  The schedule is tight but rewarding for us.. We hope you will come to both shows to see the diversity of the repertoire.

 Eighty years ago, as the bathtub gin flowed and women in flapper dresses and jeweled headbands danced the Charleston, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” was published to rather muted acclaim, causing its young author great shame and angst. Today, 400,000 copies of the portrait of the Jazz Age are sold each year in the United States, and scholars from around the globe gather to discuss the symbolism and implications of what many believe to be the Great American Novel.  Nearly 50 years after its publication, the book was made into a film in 1974 starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.  Replete with a green light at the edge of a dock, symbolizing elusive happiness, “The Great Gatsby” returns to the CBT Stage .  While The Great Gatsby is a highly specific portrait of American society during the Roaring Twenties, its story is also one that has been told hundreds of times, and is perhaps as old as America itself: a man claws his way from rags to riches, only to find that his wealth cannot afford him the privileges enjoyed by those born into the upper class. The central character is Jay Gatsby, a wealthy New Yorker of indeterminate occupation. Gatsby is primarily known for the lavish parties he throws every weekend at his ostentatious Gothic mansion in West Egg of Long Island. He is suspected of being involved in illegal bootlegging and other underworld activities.

“Even when I was ‘forced’ to read ‘The Great Gatsby’ in high school, I still  really loved it. “I’ve always thought Fitzgerald’s elegant, almost dancelike symbolic and deep prose screamed to be made into a ballet. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is the saddest novel I’ve ever read because it ends in a place of complete emptiness, despair and loss,” 

 I’ve chosen ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ because the lyrics describe Daisy’s ever-changing, fickle mind. And with this song, movement can take over the scene using the talents of actress/dancer Jessica Roan and dancer/actor Stephen Gabriel to convey the subtext of the green-eyed monster of sexual jealousy 

“My main hope is that my ballet will satisfy audience members emotionally and intellectually.”Also creating an ambience of sophistication will be “These Foolish Things,” sung by Billie Holiday, and a dance at Gatsby’s lavish party to Cole Porter’s saucy tune “Let’s Misbehave.” For this version, I have also selected  some lesser-known Gershwin tunes to frame the story. They include: “The Rialto Ripples Rag,” “Impromptu in Two Keys” and “The Three-Quarter Blues

The sparkling scenes of Gatsby’s parties contrast with the intricate web of the entangled relationships of the main characters,”. “Their reckless actions turn an American dream into something akin to a Greek tragedy as the fact that Tom is secretly seeing a married girlfriend on the side causes two deaths.”

Dancing the role of Gatsby will be Stephen Gabriel, who says, “Even when his wealth and stature are at their greatest, Gatsby will never be content unless he has Daisy. Although Gatsby seems very kind, he is not afraid to be unscrupulous to get what he wants. His drive is what makes him who he is, good and bad. It’s this drive that ends up ruining his life.”

As Carraway, Jonathan Tabbert says, “Nick is the hardest character to understand because he is the narrator and will, therefore, only give us an impression of himself that he would like to reveal. Of all the novel’s characters, he is the only one to truly recognize Gatsby’s ‘greatness,’ thereby revealing himself to be a young man of unusual sensitivity.”

In the role of Daisy’s crude, cheating husband, Tom, will be Alexander Collen . Appearing as Jordan Baker, Daisy’s friend who is a professional golfer who cheats, – Jennifer Balcerzak Muller reprises her role.

Dancing the part of Myrtle Wilson, the woman with whom Tom is having an affair, will be Stephanie Bussell, who says, “Myrtle feels she is trapped, living above a garage with a man she clearly doesn’t love. She is also selfish, in that she doesn’t consider the feelings of her husband when she has the affair with Tom.”

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