Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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April 26th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

As we bid a not so fond farewell to the most recent Broadway season with this car wreck of a musical THE GREAT GATSBY we ask ourselves why?  Why import a mediocre musical from New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse?  Why spend a huge amount of money on an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sprawling novel THE GREAT GASBY – a most complicated compilation of characters from the roaring and corrupt 1920’s.  Why bother?

Unless you can create a world with characters that are interesting with music and lyrics to match.  With a clear and developed book that isn’t one big bore.  It is a difficult task that the creative team is just not up to fulfilling.   Mostly superficial.  They sure do try hard though.

But huge sets and glitzy costumes with lighting effects galore do not a hit musical make.

Even with a yellow Rolls Royce and midnight blue Pierce Arrow thrown in for good measure.  Oh and an orchestra pit pool.  Needed for a very important scene.  It’s all glossed over.  All effect and no substance.   Spectacle.  We need to care about someone.  And we don’t.

I won’t bore you with the plot.  A quick look at SparkNotes’ synopsis of the novel will suffice.  And if you so desire to spend your hard earned bucks on a ticket, a reading of said notes will help tremendously as the sound system is just as awful as what they are attempting for your ears to absorb.

The rich and the rotten.  Unfulfilled and unhappy.  With a dash of crime and loose sex.

Looking to connect with a love that once was.  I speak of Gatsby and Daisy.  Jeremy Jordon (a long way from charismatic) and Eva Noblezada.  She is now married and has a baby.  Trouble is they have no romantic chemistry at all and are given unmemorable and unmelodic songs to sing in a very odd way.  The range for him goes from a soft falsetto to bombastic and hers fare no better.  It’s the new style of singing on Broadway.

If you can’t root for these lovers the ball game is over.

Now for the better news.  I did like our narrator Nick (Noah J. Ricketts) who gets lost in the shuffle of quick changing sets and foggy plot.

Also Samantha Pauly who seemed natural and fun and sang well.  She fortunately or unfortunately was made to appear to look like a young Streisand, whose birthday it was 4/24/24 and yet she held her own throughout.

The young audience high above in the Broadway theatre whooped and hollered loving every minute of it.  Seemed like a lot of high school theatre loving kids out to enjoy a show.

Director Marc Bruni and choreographer Dominique Kelley have opted for a quick pace throughout.  At times the too quick succession of song and dance reminded me fleetingly of Bob Fosse’s CHICAGO, RAGTIME, PHANTOM, GUYS AND DOLLS, PLAZA SUITE, 42nd STREET, SOME LIKE IT HOT and SUNSET BOULEVARD – reminiscent of the Old Ed Sullivan TV variety show.  Entertaining yes but not in the context of the tangled affairs of the rich and rotten in GATSBY.


PHOTOS:  Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman

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