By SUE SUCHYTA
“The Great Gatsby” opens Oct. 30 at Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre with the only authorized stage interpretation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, adapted by Simon Levy.
On opening night, attendees are invited to a 7 p.m. costume party before the performance, where the best-dressed patrons in Roaring Twenties attire will win a special walk-on role in a party scene of the performance.
The show runs in rotating repertory, with performances at 8 p.m. Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 5, 6 and 7, and Jan. 7, 8 and 9, and 2 p.m. Oct. 31, Nov. 4 and Jan. 9.
For tickets, call 313-577-2972 or go to hilberry1.com.
Director Blair Anderson said bringing the excess of the Roaring Twenties to life has been a delightful challenge.
“Fitzgerald wrote that ‘it was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess,’” Anderson said. “Following World War I, the story is less about a time and more about money and the possibilities of buying a new future, of recapturing the innocent love before the horrors of the war, and of replacing disillusionment through hedonistic excess.”
The cast includes Santino Craven as Jay Gatsby, Michael Manocchio as Nick Carraway, Devri Chism as Daisy Buchanan, Breayre Tender as Jordan Baker, Michael Phillip Thomas as Tom Buchanan, and Tiffany Michelle Thompson as Myrtle Wilson.
Ernest Bentley plays George Wilson, with Brandon A. Wright as Meyer Wolfsheim, Mary Sansone as Lucille McKee, Kyle Mitchell Johnson as Chester McKee, Wesley Cady as Mrs. Michaelis, and Cody Robison as a policeman.
‘DIRTY DANCING’ DELIGHTS AT THE FISHER
If you’re a diehard fan of the movie, or enjoy romance with dance, don’t miss the Detroit premiere of “Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage” through Nov. 1 at the Fisher Theatre.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, 8 p.m. Oct. 27 to 31, and 2 p.m. Oct. 25, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
To order tickets, call the Fisher Theatre box office at 313-872-1000, or Ticketmaster, at 800-982-2787, or go to broadwayindetroit.com or ticketmaster.com.
From the sound track you love, the mesmerizing dance moves, and the visually stunning scenery projected on stage, the show captives and envelopes you with the magic of the movie, set in 1963, brought to life on the stage.
Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein realized that the movie’s fans, many of whom watch it repeatedly, wanted to experience the story more intensely, which led to its stage incarnation.
The imagery projected on the stage – whether still summer shots of the Catskills, a sunrise, or a lake, or a moving image of a campfire, or trees sweeping by during a driving scene, offer beauty and an added dimension to the story without distracting from the actors on stage.
The dancing is more intense and plentiful in the play as well, from the mambo lessons at Kellerman’s, to the dirty dancing in the staff quarters.
The chemistry between Baby, played by Gillian Abbott, and Johnny, played by Christopher Tierney, is achingly believable. From the “Hungry Eyes” scene where he teaches her to mambo, to the log footbridge over the river scene played to “Hey! Baby!” one is caught up in the magic of the dance romance.
The scrims in front and behind Baby and Johnny, when he teaches her the dance lifts in the lake, offer a pretty and realistic lake backdrop, barring the fact that their clothing and hair remains completely dry while they are frolicking in the water, but considering the logistical challenge of drying out the leads, one is willing to forgive the incongruity.
The first act focuses on Johnny teaching Baby the mambo he and Penny were to have performed, while the second focuses more on the romance that has stirred between them, and offers more mesmerizing and irresistible dancing.
The stage show features incredible live vocal soloists during “In the Still of the Night” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
The music, dancing and the classic lines are there, the talented cast on stage brings the movie romance to life on stage, and no one “puts Baby in a corner.”
HFC PRESENTS ‘A CHRISTMAS STORY’
Henry Ford College presents Jean Shepherd’s comedic “A Christmas Story,” adapted for the stage by Phillip Grecian, Nov. 20 to Dec. 6 in the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center, 5101 Evergreen Road in Dearborn.
Show times are 7 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21, and Dec. 4 and 5, and 2 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22, and Dec. 5 and 6.
Tickets purchased before Nov. 13 are $5, and tickets purchased after are $15 for adults and $10 for children age 10 and under. To order tickets online, go to theatre.hfcc.edu.
Directed by Judith Fletcher, “A Christmas Story” is a coming-of-age tale set in the 1940s, when 9-year-old Ralphie longs for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, despite dire warnings by his mother, teacher and even a department store Santa that he’ll “shoot your eye out.”
Based on the late Jean Shepherd’s book, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” the movie debuted in 1983 to modest success. Its popularity grew when it was released on video, and it has become a holiday tradition.