Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine has been given the task of writing the music & lyrics for a musical adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. The adaptation hopes to reach Broadway, with the timeline for pre-Broadway shows to be announced soon.
Thomas Bartlett, the pianist for Irish folk group The Gloaming and singer/songwriter under the name Doveman, is assisting Welch on the music component. He’s also the producer best known for his work on St. Vincent’s Masseduction and Sufjan Stevens’ Call Me By Your Name song “Mystery of Love,” which was nominated for both an academy award and a Grammy award.
THE GREAT GATSBY, A New Musical is being directed by Rebecca Frecknall, who is best known for Summer and Smoke, which won the 2019 Olivier Award for ‘Best Revival’ and earned her a nomination for ‘Best Director.’ The playwright in charge of the book is Martyna Majok, who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cost of Living and wrote Queens, which is being turned into a new HBO series. She also wrote the script for another production that Frecknall is directing called Sanctuary City. Producers include Amanda Ghost, who co-wrote songs including James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” Beyoncé & Shakira’s “Beautiful Liar” and Jordan Sparks’ “Tattoo,” as well as philanthropist Len Blavatnik and Robert Fox, who produced Broadway shows such as Skylight, The Boy from Oz and The Pillowman.
Welch is also a Grammy-nominee behind two #1 hit songs and three #1 hit albums in the UK. She has released four Florence + The Machine albums in total including, Lungs (2009), Ceremonials (2011), How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015) and High as Hope (2018). Some of her biggest songs include “Dog Days Are Over,” “You Got the Love,” “Shake It Out,” “Never Let Me Go” and “Hunger.” Her most recent release is a previously unreleased cut from the High as Hope sessions called “Light of Love,” which she shared last April.
In a statement on the production, Welch said, “This book has haunted me for a large part of my life. It contains some of my favourite lines in literature. Musicals were my first love, and I feel a deep connection to Fitzgerald’s broken romanticism. It is an honour to have been offered the chance to recreate this book in song.”
Majok added, “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. I’m also overjoyed to be reunited with Rebecca Frecknall, with whom I had the most wonderful experience working on my play, Sanctuary City.”
Producers Ghost and Fox stated, “Florence’s passion for Gatsby and exceptional musical storytelling 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. 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.”
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna