‘Great Gatsby’ musical gets a green light with Florence Welch

Florence Welch performs in white
Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, pictured performing in 2019, will write the music for a “Great Gatsby” musical with Thomas Bartlett.
(Noam Galai / Getty Images)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary novel “The Great Gatsby” is being adapted into a stage musical, with Florence Welch in tow.

The Florence + the Machine frontwoman will serve as the show’s lyricist and composer, writing the music with Thomas Bartlett (also known as Doveman). The two collaborated on the “Game of Thrones” song “Jenny of Oldstones.”

“This book has haunted me for a large part of my life,” Welch said in a statement. “It contains some of my favorite lines in literature. Musicals were my first love, and I feel a deep connection to Fitzgerald’s broken romanticism. It is an honor to have been offered the chance to re-create this book in song.”


The announcement of a new musical adaptation was inevitable as “The Great Gatsby” entered the public domain this year. Since then, new books (one involving vampires) have already taken creative liberties with the Jazz Age tale.

The stage has seen satirical takes and sequel-like retellings. This musical version is planned to play eventually on Broadway, which hasn’t entertained a “Gatsby” since George Cukor directed a straight play production in 1926. (One Broadway attempt — with music by Lee Pockriss, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh (“Peter Pan”) and a book by Hugh Wheeler (“Sweeney Todd”) — was scheduled to begin performances in 1969, but never did.)

As for the new adaptation, Martyna Majok will write the book, and Rebecca Frecknall will direct. The timeline and location of a pre-Broadway engagement will be announced later.

Amid a new wave of movie musicals, the lighthearted theatricality of this 1997 production, now on Disney+, offers a thoughtful model for the genre.

Feb. 12, 2021