Quote of the Day: They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – They smashed up things, and creatures and then retreated back into their money, or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made. F. Scott Fitzgerald, in the American classic tragedy The Great Gatsby.

I believe there is a cultural fascination with the story of Jay Gatsby, his love interest Daisy, her husband Tom, and the tragic Myrtle, all told through the observant eye of Daisy’s cousin Nick. We are enamored with the glitz and decadence of the wild parties, the beautiful flapper dresses, and the handsome men in suits. But, a reckless and careless life creates chaos and tragedy. People love to use the “Gatsby” motif for fundraisers and events. If only I had a flapper dress.

The story becomes even more fantastical as its told through dance and music on stage at the vintage Ritz Theater, created by Collide Theatrical which combines dance, music, and storytelling. It was mesmerizing watching the dancers bring this story to life through their gorgeous movements including lyrical, jazz, contemporary and ballet all to a live jazz band and outstanding vocals of Katie Gearty and Sam Adamsson. I would go out to the Dakota, or wherever their performing, just to hear them. The costumes are in the 1920’s Flapper style, lots of sequins and fringe, and the men had suits, white t-shirts, and sexy moves. The entire production is stunning.

The Great Gatsby in Song and Dance by Collide Theater at the Ritz

Patrick Charles Jeffrey as Gatsby and
Grace Janiszewski as Daisy
(photo by Scott Campbell)

From their press release:

COLLIDE brings F. Scott Fitzgeralds’ classic novel to life in an innovative new dance theater adaptation. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby, his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, and lavish parties on Long Island is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. This full-length jazz dance musical will be told entirely through dance and popular music hits played by a live rock band.

The production will feature dancers Patrick Jeffrey (Ordway, History Theater), Jarod Boltjes (St. Paul Ballet), Grace Janiszewski, and Chelsea Rose in principal roles. Vocalist Katie Gearty (H$B) will lead the band with music direction by Doug Rohde. The production will be choreographed by COLLIDE Artistic Director Regina Peluso and Heather Brockman (Ballet of the Dolls), and will feature tap choreography by Kaleena Miller and Rush Benson.  Joshua Campbell will direct and co-create with Peluso.

Audience members included preschoolers to senior citizens, and from what I could tell, everyone was riveted to this performance with many cheers during the performance and a standing ovation in the end. While it is a tragic story, it is also beautiful and thought-provoking. The performers are excellent, the music gripping. Aerialist Heather Haugen treated us to an acrobatic performance during the party scenes. You don’t have to be well versed in the Great Gatsby story to understand what’s happening. The dancers and music tell the story so well. I have read the novel and seen the movies and loved how they interpreted the story. My friend has not read the book or seen the movies, and she said she followed the whole story, and loved it! 

You can experience Collide’s Great Gatsby at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis, MN through November 18, 2018. They already have several sold out performances, so get your tickets soon. This is truly a mesmerizing theatrical experience. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: Are you a fan of Gatsby and the styles and lore of the era?