‘The Great Gatsby’ opens March 10

It’s a step back in time to the Roaring ’20s as the Barrow-Civic Theatre will open its main stage season with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless tale “The Great Gatsby.”  The show runs Friday and Saturday, March 10-11, and Friday through Sunday, March 17-19.

Although set in the Jazz Age, many of the themes touched on in this classic story are hauntingly familiar.  It’s a time of unprecedented materialism and excess in America where the rich become richer and the poor struggle just to get by.  A time where fame and celebrity are prized over honesty and hard work, where sincerity gives way to superficiality.  It’s a fictional tale that asks a very real question: just how far we are willing to go to pursue our version of the American dream?

In this stage adaptation by Simon Levy, the story unfolds from the memories of narrator Nick Carraway (Nicholas Hess).  Looking to jumpstart his career, Nick heads east to reconnect with his
cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband, Tom Buchanan.  The enchanting Daisy (Hannah McCarthy) and charismatic Tom (Rob Bullington) invite Nick into their elite and glamorous world that on
the surface appears picture-perfect, but is really in turmoil from Tom’s extra-marital affairs.

Daisy introduces Nick to her childhood friend Jordan Baker (Brooke Lawrie), a professional golfer of questionable integrity, who immediately sets her sites on romancing Nick.  Nick’s neighbor is the mysterious and intriguing Jay Gatsby (Ben Bodamer), a man of exceptional wealth and new-found celebrity who throws lavish parties in the hopes of reconnecting with his former love, Daisy, whom he hopes to win back from Tom.

As the play enfolds, Daisy must decide whether to remain with her philandering husband and the wealth and stability he can provide, or start a new life with Gatsby.

That new life, although alluring, is clouded by the mysteries of Gatsby’s past.  A past made all the more suspect by his association with nefarious characters like Meyer Wolfsheim (Kevin Fox), a kingpin in the world of organized crime.  Audience members are also introduced to George and Myrtle Wilson who are chasing their own versions of the American dream.

George (Galen Trimble), owner of a garage, is discouraged that despite his best efforts to improve their quality of life, his hard work has not paid off as he had hoped.

Myrtle (Kelsey Viertel) has found her own fast-track to social success as Tom Buchanan’s mistress.  She and Tom entertain with Mr. McKee (Andrew Ritsig), an eccentric photographer and his wife (Joni Hulse).

Rounding out the cast are Mark Dougherty as the Policeman, Joni Hulse as Mrs. Michaelis, and Aaron Ritsig and Austin Suarez who serve as Tech Butlers, the on-stage technical crew.

Making his directorial debut at the Barrow is veteran stage director Bill Trimble.  Tish McClintock serves as stage manager with assistance from Joie Fox.  Under technical director August Babington are Kolby Martin on lights, Briton Backer on sound and Nicole Laverdure on spot.  Nicholas Hess also serves as costumer designer and Cheryl Heffernan is assisting with both costumes
and props.  Jenn Fox is the show’s production manager.

The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 10-11 and 17-18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $12 for students.  The show is
rated PG-13.

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 437-3440 or online at www.barrowtheatre.com.  A Speakeasy After-Party will be held after the opening night performance on Friday, March 10, in the Little Theatre.  The cost for the party is $10 and includes attendees’ first drink, mini desserts and appetizers for the evening.  The bar will feature ’20s themed cocktails.