A new stage musical adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald masterpiece The Great Gatsby is headed for Broadway, with music by Florence + the Machine’s Florence Welch and Oscar-nominated “Mystery of Love” song producer Thomas Bartlett.
The musical, announced today by producers Len Blavatnik and Amanda Ghost for Unigram in association with Robert Fox, will feature a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok, with Welch writing lyrics. Olivier Award nominee Rebecca Frecknall (the West End’s Summer and Smoke) will direct.
“This book has haunted me for a large part of my life,” Welch said in a statement. “It contains some of my favorite lines in literature. Musicals were my first love, and I feel a deep connection to Fitzgerald’s broken romanticism. It is an honor to have been offered the chance to recreate this book in song.”
Bartlett, a singer and pianist who has released four solo albums under the name Doveman and four with the group The Gloaming, received Oscar and Grammy nominations for his song with Sufjan Stevens “Mystery of Love” from the 2017 film Call Me by Your Name.
Gatsby marks the first major new Broadway-bound musical announced since the start of the Covid pandemic shutdown in March 2020. The producers said they will disclose a pre-Broadway engagement and production timeline shortly. Though casting has not been announced, an original cast will eventually be released on Warner Music.
“I’m thrilled, honored, and inspired to work with this company of extraordinary artists, and to get to live in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s transcendent, gorgeous words,” said Majok, who was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Cost of Living and currently is developing an original series for HBO based on her play Queens. “I’m also overjoyed to be reunited with Rebecca Frecknall, with whom I had the most wonderful experience working on my play, Sanctuary City.”
The project isn’t Welch’s first brush with Gatsby: Florence + the Machine performed the song “Over the Love” for Baz Luhrmann’s otherwise unrelated 2013 adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character.
Fitzgerald’s 1925 Jazz Age classic about the doomed romance between the newly rich striver Jay Gatsby and socialite Daisy Buchanan will be particularly relevant to a post-pandemic audience, producers Ghost and Fox suggested.
“It’s been 100 years since The Great Gatsby was published and there could be no better time for a new musical adaptation of the greatest party America ever threw,” they said in a statement. The two also said Welch’s passion and talent “will bring this iconic love story to life in ways we have never experienced before.”
“Martyna and Rebecca are two of the most exciting theatre artists of their generation and, together, this extraordinary team brings a thrilling new perspective to one of the most culturally significant books of all time,” Ghost and Fox said.
Ghost is a songwriter and producer in her own right, and has created hits for Shakira, John Legend, James Blunt and Beyoncé (including the latter’s Oscar-nominated “Once in a Lifetime” from the 2008 film Cadillac Records). She is a founding partner of Unigram Media, the production company behind such movie and theatre scores as The United States Vs. Billie Holiday and the cast album for the 2020 Broadway hit Moulin Rouge!
Hannah Giannoulis and James Orange are Executive Producers. The production will be co-produced by Access Entertainment. Jeanie O’Hare, who commissioned and developed Matilda the Musical, will serve as Story Consultant.
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