The Great Gatsby - A Live Radio Play

The Great Gatsby/ A Radio Play Legacy 9-22 128 The Great Gatsby: A Radio Play Legacy Theatre 09/21/22 CAST (in alphabetical order by actor) Nelson North (George Wilson, Partygoer 2, Gatsby’s Butler, Policeman, Ewing Klipspringer) … DAVID BELL Tony Hunter (Jay Gatsby) … ERIK BLOOMQUIST* Jake Laurents (Nick Carraway) … DAN FRYE Lana Sherwood (Jordan Baker, Buchanans’ Maid, Myrtle Wilson, Well-Dressed Woman, Gatsby’s Gardener) … SKYE GILLESPIE Sally Applewhite (Daisy Buchanan, Catherine, Partygoer 1, Michaelis) … MARY MANNIX Freddie Fillmore (Nick’s Father, Tom Buchanan, Train Conductor, Owl Eyes, Meyer Wolfsheim, Henry C. Gatz) … JOSIAH ROWE *Actors appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States CREATIVE TEAM Scenic & Lighting Designer JAMIE BURNETT Costume Designer JIMMY JOHANSMEYER Props Designer ERICA PAJONAS Sound Designer ADAM JACKSON Master Carpenter RICH BURKAM Production Stage Manager SARAH PERO Assistant Stage Manager LAUREN ELISE FISHER Associate Director NOAH GOLDEN Music Director DAVID BELL Assistant Director & Dramaturg JOE LANDRY Director KEVIN MICHAEL REED Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography

BRANFORD – Its right about the time Nick Carroway starts the final line ‘so we beat on, boats against the current….’ that one begins the process of comparing a new telling to the ongoing conversation one has been having since, possibly, their junior year of high school. Classes spent discussing every line, watching the Sam Waterston, and then Leo DeCaprio versions on screen, and now, added to that, a live radio play.

And with that most recent addition, we have something relatively unique. Really, how many staged radio plays has one seen? And with The Great Gatsby, A Live Radio Play, one that most are so able to compare with such a variety of mediums?

Its hard not to walk into the Legacy Theater and smile seeing the stage set up as a 40’s era radio station, and in this case, the players already in character, hustling about, and dealing with, well, radio-ish issues, including one of the players calling out, and replaced with a woman whose past theater work consists of being a bit player in a high school production. And with that start, we have the groundwork for a fun telling of the well known story, and including highly entertaining commercial breaks.

Josiah Rowe, who opens the show and takes on the role of Tom Buchanan, brings all the energy needed to the stage for the show; Erik Bloomquist, as Jay Gatsby, is understated and stoic, which marks a new version that prompts comparisons to Gatsby's we have seen in other mediums. But that is, after all, the point of good theater and the interpretations made by the actors.

But the most interesting character has always been Carroway, largely due to the only one with an actual character ark in the original work. Dan Frye plays him as, well, dull, early on, as both a narrator and character, but it’s a choice that pays off well as the character makes the transition from a wide-eyed Midwesterner to one capable to sudden outbursts of anger, even if only in words, in the final scenes.

A brisk 90 minutes, the performance is done without intermission, but flies by as it is broken up into essentially three acts by two commercial breaks, both done brilliantly.

If one walks out of the theater actively comparing the performance and interpretations to previous versions in the viewers mind, then it’s a show worth seeing. You already know the story, and by now have likely read it, seen it, and now heard it; and it even helps to close ones eyes and simply listen to Daisy break the hearts of both men in the most tense moments of the performance, adding depth to a story we already know so well.

The Great Gatsby-A Live Radio Play runs at the Legacy Theater through October 1, and is worth seeing. And plan for drinks after, or better yet, re-read the book or re-watch the movie, as you may not look at them the same way. And that’s what good theater does.


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