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Jazz Age exemplifies rich and famous lifestyle in ‘The Great Gatsby’

A stage version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, “The Great Gatsby” opens April 11 at Theatre Lawrence, in Lawrence, KS.
A stage version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, “The Great Gatsby” opens April 11 at Theatre Lawrence, in Lawrence, KS.
Theatre Lawrence

Sometimes considered by many to be The Great American Novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, comes to Theatre Lawrence stage, adapted from the novel by Simon Levy to open April 11, in Lawrence, KS for a limited engagement, as announced by the theatre directors.

Jack B. Wright, Professor Emeritus of Theatre and Film at the University of Kansas returns to Theatre Lawrence to direct "The Great Gatsby." He is joined by local jazz artist and film professor Chuck Berg, who provides original compositions for the show. Berg is a voting member of NARAS (the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Grammy Awards), and serves as chair of Film & Video for the International Association of Jazz Educators, a spokesman for Theatre Lawrence said.

Gatsby and his friends live in the upscale fictional town of West Egg in the prosperous Long Island area in the summer of 1922 and the heart of the Jazz Age. Nick Carraway, (played by Jake Smith) the play’s narrator, takes a job in New York as a bond salesman. Carraway rents a small house on Long Island, next door to the lavish mansion of Jay Gatsby (played by Garrett Lawson), a mysterious millionaire who holds extravagant parties and passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan, Carraway’s cousin. Carraway visits his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (portrayed by Laura Brooke Williams), and her husband, Tom Buchanan (Dan Heinz), a college acquaintance of Nick's. The couple introduce Carraway to Jordan Baker (Sissy Anne Quaranta), an attractive, cynical young golfer with whom Nick begins a romantic relationship despite her having a husband, George Baker, played by Greg Nielson. Jordan reveals to Carraway that Tom has a mistress, Myrtle Wilson (Chirstie Dobson), and Nick is soon drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger, according to info provided by TL.

Theatre Lawrence’s additional cast included veterans Charles Whitman, Christoph Cording and Alicia Barlow Party-goers and dancers are played by veterans Mario Bonilla, Sonja Holmgren, Brian Duerksen, and Dennis Craig, along with newcomers Sheena Shearburn, Bria Collins, Heather Hinshaw and Stephaine Hopkins.

"The Great Gatsby" is directed by Jack B.Wright, with choreography by Barbara Wasson. Original music is composed and played by Chuck Berg accompanied by percussionist Valance Penn. Jeff Blair is the Assistant Director and Brian Williams is stage manager. Jane Pennington is the show's costume designer. Set design by Jack Riegle and Lighting by Phil Schroeder. Sound is designed by Bob Newton.

An opening Night reception is catered by Alvamar Country Club. Opening night audiences are invited to a 6:30pm. pre-show reception.

Show dates for "The Great Gatsby" are: April: 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27 (No show Easter Sunday) with evening Shows: 7:30p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30p.m. For tickets, go to the website: or call the box office between 11:30-4:30, M-F, at 785-843-SHOW (7469). Theatre Lawrence is located at: 4660 Bauer Farm Drive, Lawrence, KS.

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