amBroadway | ‘Great Gatsby’ musical to play New York, ‘Purple Rain’ musical in the works and more

Noah J. Ricketts as Nick Carraway in Paper Mill Playhouse's "The Great Gatsby," directed by Marc Bruni.
Noah J. Ricketts as Nick Carraway in Paper Mill Playhouse’s “The Great Gatsby,” directed by Marc Bruni.
Photo by Jeremy Daniel

A new musical adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” that received its world premiere during the fall at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse will transfer to Broadway later this season, beginning previews at the Broadway Theatre (recently home to “Here Lies Love”) on March 29. Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada, who played Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan respectively at Paper Mill, will continue in the roles.

The musical is being produced by Chunsoo Shin (a prominent figure in Korean theater). It has direction by Marc Bruni (“Beautiful)”), and is written by Nathan Tysen (“Paradise Square”), Jason Howland (“Beautiful”), and Kait Kerrigan (“The Mad Ones”),  

This is not the only musical version of “The Great Gatsby” (which recently entered the public domain) currently in development. “Gatsby,” which has direction by Rachel Chavkin (“Hadestown”) and music by Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine), will be presented later this year by American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. Last year, an environmental theater adaptation of the novel (in the style of “Sleep No More”) briefly played a midtown ballroom space. The best-known stage adaptation of the novel is “Gatz,” an unabridged ensemble reading/dramatization of the novel by the experimental company Elevator Repair Service, which has played New York twice to date.

Jazz adaptation of ‘Pirates of Penzance’ sailing to Broadway

A reinterpretation of the classic Gilbert & Sullivan operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” that is centered around New Orleans jazz will be produced on Broadway next season by the Roundabout Theatre Company, with David Hyde Pierce as Major General Stanley and Ramin Karimloo (“Funny Girl”) as the Pirate King. The company previously presented a benefit reading of the adaptation last season. The company’s Broadway season will also include Sanaz Toosi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “English” and David Henry Hwang’s comedy “Yellow Face” (which was inspired by the playwright’s protests of the casting of Jonathan Pryce in the original production of “Miss Saigon”).

‘Purple Rain’ musical with Prince songs in the works

A stage adaptation of the 1984 Prince film “Purple Rain,” featuring songs by Prince, is in the works. It will have a new book by playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (“Appropriate”) that is based on the film’s screenplay, about a musician on the rise and direction by Lileana Blain-Cruz (“The Skin of Our Teeth”).

‘Danny and the Deep Blue Sea’ recoups investment costs

The commercial Off-Broadway revival of John Patrick Shanley’s gritty two-hander romance “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” starring Aubrey Plaza (“The White Lotus”) and Christopher Abbott (“Girls”) managed to recoup its investment costs prior to its final performance on Sunday. While Off-Broadway continues to be a vital home to numerous nonprofit theater companies, it has almost entirely ceased to be a place where serious drama can be presented commercially due to economic challenges. The production’s recoupment is all the more impressive because there were performances during the 11-week run where both Plaza and Abbott were out and replaced by their understudies, forcing the producers to drop the ticket price to $30 for those performances.

Bedlam to combine Shakespeare and Shaw’s Julius Caesar plays

Back in 2018, the experimental-meets-classical theater company Bedlam presented a combination of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” that I am still trying to make sense of. In a somewhat similar vein, the company has announced that its next show will be “The Assassination of Julius Caesar as Told by William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw,” a combination of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra,” which will play the West End Theater on the Upper West Side beginning February 24. Bedlam just presented an Off-Broadway revival of Tom Stoppard’s time-shifting drama “Arcadia.”