Is Broadway’s Gatsby Great?

The Tony Awards have come and gone and The Great Gatsby came out a winner. Oddly, it was for the one category it was nominated: Best Costumes.

In one of the busiest seasons of all time, was Gatsby inferior to those many other productions and might have been a big contender if there were fewer options?

But having just seen most of the winning musicals, I am surprised at the poor showing Gatsby had with the Tony voters. Was it backlash of some sort or just too many choices?

Stars Jeremy Jordan and Eva Nobelzada seemed like shoo-ins for nominations. Jordan has been a Broadway favorite for years with his rich, tender voice making everything he sings believable. Nobelzada’s resume may have fewer shows on it, but she was nominated for Best Actress for her last two productions: Miss Saigon and Hadestown.

Now I’ve seen the show and I am more stunned. They both provided layered, memorable performances which is hard to do in a show rich in costumes, sets and scenic design. 

On those fronts as well, it’s something wondrous to watch. Maybe at times they go from spectacular to spectacle, still Paul Tate dePoo III’s scenic design and  Tony winning costumes from Linda Cho elevate the show to new heights and make the story we’ve all heard before fresh and memorable.

Director Mark Bruni seems to be the best choice for the job as, with his history which includes many smaller productions like Trevor: The Musical, he focuses on getting the most out of his actors, which he does here even though he’s also focused on a grand scale production which involves not one but two cars driving on the stage.

All eight core actors are able to bring life into a show that’s easy to get lost in the lavish production. Eric Anderson gives his usual standout performance as villain Meyer Wolfsheim.  We get a little glimpse of the fur factor in the cubby co-star Noah J. Ricketts, who steals the show in many of his scenes.

In a city that often depends on Tony Awards and nominations, Gatsby seems to be thriving with over $1 brought in each week and a Show-Score average of 88% favorable reviews.

Tickets and information at: THE GREAT GATSBY | Official Broadway Site | Get Tickets

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Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, www.reelkev.com and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for Examiner.com and contributes to progressivepulse.com as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."