amBroadway: Multiple adaptations of ‘The Great Gatsby’ in works, Rudin leaves Broadway League and more

ERS GATZ L to R (Laurena Allan, Gary Wilmes, Scott Shepherd, Annie McNamara, Kate Scelsa, Vin Knight) by Mark Barton
Laurena Allan, Gary Wilmes, Scott Shepherd, Annie McNamara, Kate Scelsa, Vin Knight in “Gatz,” an adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.”

‘Great Gatsby’ multiples onstage

Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 Jazz Age novel “The Great Gatsby,” which finally entered the public domain this year, has multiple new stage versions in the works. An immersive, “Sleep No More”-style adaptation, which originated in the UK, is slated to premiere in New York in the fall. According to a press release, it “allows audiences to fully immerse themselves in the world of Jay Gatsby – a world of red-hot rhythms, bootleg liquor and pure jazz age self-indulgence.” Also, a musical adaptation is aiming for Broadway, which will have songs by Florence Welch (singer-songwriter of the indie rock group Florence and the Machine) and Thomas Bartlett and book by Pulitzer-winning dramatist Martyna Majok (“Cost of Living”).

Personally, I am hoping for a return of “Gatz,” an eight-hour (including dinner break and intermissions), unabridged presentation of the novel by the experimental theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service, which played the Public Theater in 2010 and received a short encore run at NYU Skirball in 2019. “Gatz” was one of the most improbable, inventive and rewarding theatrical experiences I have ever seen.

Rudin leaves Broadway League

As previously reported, mega-producer Scott Rudin has announced that he will “step back” from his numerous Broadway endeavors (including the upcoming blockbuster revival of “The Music Man” with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster) in light of troubling allegations of workplace bullying and harassment, as detailed in an expose by the Hollywood Reporter three weeks ago. In recent days, the extent of Rudin’s exodus has become clearer.

Following demands that the Broadway League (the trade association that represents Broadway theater owners and producers in collective bargaining agreements) and Actors’ Equity Association (the union for professional stage actors) prevent Rudin from producing on Broadway in the future, the New York Times revealed that Rudin has resigned from the Broadway League, which would appear to mean that Rudin cannot produce anything on Broadway until he reenters the Broadway League or negotiates his own contracts with the many unions that represent Broadway artists and workers.

For now, “The Music Man” is still expected to come to Broadway, but under new producer. The hit shows produced by Rudin that were running at the time of the shutdown, including “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Book of Mormon,” are also expected to return with new management.

Sondheim’s Buñuel no longer expected

Thirteen years have gone by since the Public Theater produced “Road Show,” the latest musical written by Stephen Sondheim (who is now 91 years old), even while revivals of his earlier musicals continue unabated. (At the time of the shutdown, a gender-bending revival of “Company” was in previews on Broadway, and an Off-Broadway revival of “Assassins” produced by Classic Stage Company was in rehearsals.) Following “Road Show,” word would occasionally come out that Sondheim was working with playwright David Ives (“Venus in Fur”) on a new musical based on films by the surrealist Mexican filmmaker Luis Buñuel that would, upon its completion, be produced by the Public Theater. Alas, the New York Times reported this week that Sondheim is no longer working on the musical.

This week’s streaming recommendations…

“Sutton Foster/Bring Me to Light” (Foster performs in concert at City Center), through May 31, citycenter.org…”La Traviata” (Plácido Domingo leads 1981 performance of Verdi’s tragic romance), April 30 at 7:30 p.m., metopera.org.

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