Onstage: The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 Jazz Age novel, The Great Gatsby, is generally considered a great American novel.

The Great Gatsby at Cincy Shakes
The Great Gatsby at Cincy Shakes

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 Jazz Age novel, The Great Gatsby, is generally considered a great American novel. It’s been made into several films — none truly successful — and there’s only one stage adaptation authorized by Fitzgerald’s estate. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is giving that script by Simon Levy its regional premiere to launch its 21st season.

Staged by Brian Phillips, the production gets the story and the era right.

The story of Jay Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan is narrated by her cousin, Nick Carraway. CSC actor Justin McCombs perfectly embodies this honest observer, framing the story and recalling it with revelatory monologues that provide profound insights into the mores and values of the 1920s.

Nick’s observations are rendered as McCombs steps to the edge of the stage, beyond the dreamscape set designed and evocatively lit by Andrew Hungerford. 

The production is true to Fitzgerald’s text, culminating in Nick’s enlightenment regarding the powerful pull of the past. 

The Great Gatsby, presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, continues through Oct. 4. cincyshakes.com.

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