It’s all Gatsby all the time. To date, I’ve roughed out about 10 of the 35 songs and the studios seem to be bristling with excitement about the project. I started this morning with a rehearsal for the big Charleston piece that opens Gatsby’s party in act 1. This number needs to capture the unbridled energy and optimism of the times. My goal was to create a contemporary dance with references to social dancing from the era and to tap into the wit and kookiness of Billy Novick’s orchestration of this famous song. The Charleston will involve all the members of the Company and Studio Company, although I began setting the dance on a small group in the company, led by Jade Payette and Luis Torres, who are willing and creative guinea pigs for some pretty wild and fast-paced dance moves. The day ended with a session creating a lush and sensitive duet for Daisy and Gatsby in Tom’s bungalow, which ends Act 1. I’m making the material on Jared Nelson and Elizabeth Gaither, with two other couples also creating the roles: Jon Jordan and Laura Urgelles; and Brooklyn Mack and Jade Payette. Jared’s one of the most able, creative, and attentive partner I’ve worked with and Elizabeth brings such extravagant beauty and dramatic context to each moment, and is game to follow his lead. They’ve partnered together for years and have developed so that the work proceeds swimmingly. I’m hoping to finish the pas de deux today.
Next up: tomorrow morning’s production meeting with Ed Cucurello to figure out how to make it rain dollar bills for three minutes over the entire stage!