The Wharton Center Presents: The Great Gatsby
The MSU Department of Theater will present an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, "The Great Gatsby". The show will be performed live at the Wharton Center and will run from Oct. 13 to Oct. 22.
Since the novel's setting takes place in the 1920's or the Jazz Age, the play features choreography of popular dances from the era, such as the Charleston and the Foxtrot. Originally composed music from that time period will also be featured in the production and performed by a live band.
"We decided to go for a very authentic 1920's period style," Josiah Masvero, stage manager for the production said. "Even though the music is new it follows a lot of the same patterns of the 1920's."
Masvero said it took some time for the actors in the play to get acclimated with the roaring twenties dances.
"We started our choreography rehearsals by walking through just a few basic Charleston and jazz steps," Masvero said. "After we had kind of benchmark for where the actors were, then we started to choreograph some more advanced work."
While teaching and learning the choreography was a lengthy process in itself, the entire production process of the play blows it out of the water. Production for "The Great Gatsby" started as far back as last December, and before anyone could even think about play rehearsals, a barrage of production meetings was first up on the priorities list for Masvero and staff.
"I started my job by reading the script and started to lead design or production meetings where we flushed out the design for costumes, the set, the lights and everything," Masvero said.
DJ Shafer, junior and fine arts acting major, has the honor of playing the lead role in the production, the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. Along with the chance to add quality experience to his resume, Shafer said he couldn't pass up on the opportunity to be a part of a play based on such a well-known novel.
"It's a really beautiful story and considered a classic American novel, so I thought it would be good experience to have that in my wheelhouse of acting opportunities," Shafer said.
Senior fine arts acting major Trevor Earley – who plays the role of Tom Buchanan – said that while he is required as part of his major to audition for plays in the theater department, he, like Shafer, wanted to be a part of a production that many audience members would be familiar with.
"It's just such a great American classic that everybody has to read in high school, and it's really cool for people to come and see a novel they've read be brought to life on stage," Shafer said.
Although the 2013 film on The Great Gatsby was a box office hit, the play presented at the Wharton Center will be solely based on the novel.
"It's almost exactly like the novel, just brought to life in front of you," Shafer said. "In fact, our director made sure that we all re-read the novel over the summer just because it was so close to the play itself."
Tickets for the show start at $12 for students, $15 for seniors and faculty and $17 for general admission.