Off the Lake Productions will pair “The Great Gatsby” with a modern soundtrack

Off the Lake Productions will bring the classic story “The Great Gatsby” to the stage with a slight twist this weekend. Credit: Courtesy of Nicole Beckman.

Off the Lake Productions will bring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” – set in 1922 New York – to life with a 2020s twist.

The Ohio State student-run, service-based theater organization will present Simon Levy’s theatrical adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” at the Lawrence Tower Ballroom Thursday through Sunday and the weekend of 25 to February 27. The production will be Off the Lake’s first full in-person play since the pandemic began, said Nicole Beckman, a 2021 Ohio State student and director of “The Great Gatsby.”

Beckman said the classic story of the self-made millionaire was fun to tackle from a personal perspective.

“I had a lot of fun taking a story that everyone has read for, like, a century and known and kind of making it my own,” Beckman said. “Everybody knows the story, but nobody really knows a specific adaptation, and you can do whatever you want with it to some degree.”

Beckman said one of the biggest twists in his take on “The Great Gatsby” is the soundtrack, which will largely consist of music from the 2020s and has been in the works since February 2021.

“We have 1920s music where I think it’s needed, but for the most part it’s all 2020s songs, pop songs, songs that I think people can relate to as our own form of the Jazz Age,” Beckman said.

Beckman said Off the Lake has never before featured a show that combines modern music with ancient history, and finding music that fits naturally into the show can be difficult.

“I had to really go through every song in every scene and pick out snippets of the song and the words that the singer sings and make sure it makes sense with the scene and everything,” Beckman said. “And I think that’s very different from anything we’ve done with shows in the past.”

Miles Skove, a sophomore in finance and political science who will play Jay Gatsby on the series, said it was surreal to go up against such a well-known character.

“Everyone knows Jay Gatsby – everyone saw the movie or read the book in high school,” Skove said. “People have a great familiarity with the characters. There can be a bit of pressure to play him the way people expect to see this character, but it’s been really fun because he’s a classic for a reason, and he’s a very interesting character .

Skove said telling the story on stage is unique from how the story is told in books or movies.

“There are things that you can take out of a live performance because you’re physically in the room with the actors, and you can add a little bit more emotion to it, a little bit more of the interpersonal character development that’s harder to get across the screen,” Skove said. “We also don’t have the magic of video editing and massive fireworks and 100-person parties to play with, so we’re also limited in some ways.”

Several COVID-19 restrictions will be put in place for the production to reduce the spread of the virus, Beckman said, including requiring the cast to be fully vaccinated and wear transparent masks at all times. Masks must also be worn by the public at all times, and no food or drink is permitted to be consumed around others.

Beckman said she felt one of the biggest things to come out of this show was being able to perform on stage in person again, instead of continuing to adapt to a virtual format.

“It’s about finding reality versus illusion,” Beckman said. “I think in a time when we’re all staring at our computers all the time and can’t really be in person, it’s our own version of the 20s and our own version of what’s real and what’s is not. ”

Admission to “The Great Gatsby” will cost $1 or a can at the door, and donations will benefit the Kaleidoscope Youth Center. Shows will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and February 25 and 26, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and February 26 and 27.

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