I was overseas in Feb 2010, when Septime Webre's The Great Gatsby had premiered, so saw it last night for the first time. WOW!!! This is a beautifully conceived, smoothly-rolling mega-production that is part ballet and part Broadway-style revue, complete with live jazz band, singers and tap dancing. I loved the dancing: Jared Nelson as Gatsby, newcomer Emily Ellis as Daisy, Maki Onuki as Daisy's friend Jordan, Jonathan Jordan as the narrator-Nick, Luis R. Torres as Tom, Sona Kharatian as Tom's mistress Myrtle, and - most especially - Brooklyn Mack as Myrtle's husband, George. BUT last night's 'cake' was taken not by a dancer but a singer, as jazz vocalist E. Faye Butler absolutely brought the house down with her 'Big Hot Mama' rendition of 'I Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl.' [Hilarious lyrics that had us rolling in the aisles...there's a hot dog or two in the mix.] Hers was a Million-Dollar Performance.
Favorite dancing segment: a very clever number for 4 dancers and one big sofa - cavorting on top of, around, behind, through,etc. It brought memories of Nijinska's Les Biches and made me think how wonderful it would be to see this troupe performing that 'other' more famous Roaring 20s 'flapper ballet' (also with a big sofa) some day.
In the past I have not cared for TWB's mixing of dance and other styles of performance art. This is one huge exception. Do not miss it, if you're anywhere close to DC this weekend!
The Great Gatsby, Nov 2011Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Th.
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