NEW YORK – Florence Welch is ditching the machine for musicals.
The Grammy-nominated leader of Florence + The Machine is supplying the lyrics and co-writing music for a stage musical adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” it was announced Wednesday. No cast or premiere venue was announced.
Welch will collaborate on the music with Thomas Bartlett — who earned a Grammy nomination for best song written for visual media in 2019 for “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens — and story writer Martyna Majok, who was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for drama for “Cost of Living.” The musical will be directed by Olivier Award nominee Rebecca Frecknall.
The copyright to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic Jazz Age novel expired at the end of 2020, meaning anyone is now allowed to adapt it to a movie, make it into an opera or stage a Broadway musical without permission from the estate.
“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 recreate this book in song.”
Formed in London in 2007, Florence + the Machine’s 2009 debut “Lungs” was a hit in the United Kingdom and reached No. 14 on the Billboard 200. The band's breakout track is “Dog Days Are Over.”
Other rock and pop stars who have written original musicals include Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Stewart, Tori Amos, Edie Brickell and Trey Anastasio from Phish. For every Elton John, who found amazing success with “The Lion King,” there is U2′s Bono and The Edge, who were battered by “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”
Some big names in the pop world who stumbled in musical theater include Paul Simon, whose 1998 Broadway show “The Capeman” was the most high-profile failure of his career. “Taboo,” Boy George’s foray into the world of musicals, went fine in London but not in New York.