Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada Are Putting Their Own Spin on The Great Gatsby | Playbill

Special Features Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada Are Putting Their Own Spin on The Great Gatsby

The Tony nominees have returned to Broadway to bring one of American literature’s most infamous couples to the stage.

Eva Noblezada and Jeremy Jordan photographed at The Plaza Hotel Jenny Anderson

Who doesn’t love a good party? Who doesn’t love a big new Broadway musical with big dance numbers, big sets, and big sweeping ballads? And who doesn’t love having two of Broadway’s most adored young performers star in that musical? Well, luckily for audiences at the Broadway Theatre, they’re placing their bets and raising their glasses to The Great Gatsby starring Tony nominees Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada.

The story of Jay Gatsby and his pining after his “green light” go beyond the reading requirements for American high school literature classes. After seven films, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and released in 1925, is a story that most know. And now, the great American novel comes to life in one of the most anticipated productions of the season.

Noblezada was seen last on Broadway in Hadestown for which she received her second Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Just last year she said goodbye to the show after performing with the production since 2018. In an exclusive interview with Playbill, Noblezada explained that she was ready for a change and that she was looking forward to not performing eight shows a week. So what was it about The Great Gatsby that enticed her to return to Broadway so quickly?

“I really enjoy having a job. That's something that I'm really passionate about,” says Noblezada. “Personally, the difference between the jobs I had done in the past and [this] job is how I want to move forward as an actress.” While she is no stranger to being a Broadway leading lady, Noblezada says she is enjoying the process of finding her version of Daisy, who is arguably more flawed and selfish than Miss Saigon's Kim and Hadestown's Eurydice. However, Noblezada explains that putting up a new Broadway show isn’t an easy lift. “When you sign on for a job, that's a huge, huge part of your life,” she exclaims. But luckily, The Great Gatsby ticked off all the boxes for her as an artist: challenging, fun, and exciting.

Eva Noblezada and Jeremy Jordan photographed at The Plaza Hotel Jenny Anderson

For Jordan, who was most recently seen last year in Off-Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors, this opportunity has been overdue. “I haven’t originated [a role in] a musical on Broadway in 12 years,” he explains, referring to his Tony-nominated role as Jack Kelly in Newsies. “So, it was time. But more than that, I've worked with almost everybody in the creative team before. And it was the first opportunity to create something really cool with friends.” Those friends included the show’s composer. “I've been a big fan of Jason Howland for a really long time. And so that was an easy yes for me.”

Noblezada was quick to agree, adding that the musical’s book, written by Kait Kerrigan, and the creative team were also big factors in her signing on. “I just fell in love with the team.” During her audition, Noblezada recalls being happily surprised by everyone’s energy and excitement in the room. “You kind of don't want to work with any other type of people," she says. “You want to work with kind, collaborative people who respect you, and also feel like they are rooting for you.”

The musical, which also features lyrics by Nathan Tysen, had its world premiere last fall at New Jersey’s Tony Award-winning regional theatre Paper Mill Playhouse. Jordan portrays Jay Gatsby, the mysterious and nouveau riche millionaire steadfast in reuniting with his long lost love, Daisy Buchanan, played by Noblezada. After the musical’s sold-out run, the production, which started previews March 29, is now preparing for its highly anticipated opening on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre April 25.

As Jordan and Noblezada prepare to reprise their roles, they’re both looking forward to further exploring their characters and expanding the '20s-era world for the Broadway production. Noblezada admits that she knows that many see Daisy as an unlikeable character. But for her, she just sees a human being with many flaws.

“There are definitely a lot of challenges with this role that I'm still trying to not make it look like they're challenges. But that, in my opinion, that's the total joy of doing live theatre, of just pushing yourself in the best way,” Noblezada says. “[Gatsby] is a creation that we're all putting our two cents in and I'm so grateful that I'm encouraged to have a voice in this process. It makes me feel more confident in my choices and happier to be trying new things and tackling on new challenges.”

Eva Noblezada and Jeremy Jordan photographed at The Plaza Hotel Jenny Anderson

In preparing for Broadway, Jordan said he’s enjoyed diving back into rehearsals and discovering his version of the legendary character—no small task since Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio previously played Gatsby onscreen. “It’s been really fun exploring what [Gatsby’s] actual sound is,” he says. “Because musically, I get to do a little bit more of, like, legit musical theatre in this show… which is really fun and freeing to do. And then the actual [speaking] voice of the character is a weird amalgamation of all these old movies that I've watched. I've desperately, very specifically, stayed away from watching anybody else's interpretation of Gatsby because that just gets stuck in your head, you know? You just gotta live your own version.”

Though the process of working on a new musical can be difficult, both performers agree that the partnership between the two of them has been a payoff that makes it all worth it. “What I love about working with Jeremy is that I feel supported,” says Noblezada. “I feel like when I try new things, he's listening and he's very active. It'd be really uncomfortable to try new things [while in rehearsals] with a scene partner and not be receptive or not willing to play at all.”

Jordan agrees, adding that while in rehearsals for the Broadway production, everyone feels like they have a voice to contribute during the process. “It actually feels even more collaborative this time around, because we've all done it,” Jordan explains. His favorite part is that the rehearsal room, led by director Marc Bruni, is an even playing ground with no sense of hierarchy. He goes on to say the mentality is “let's talk and let's figure out what the vision is. Nothing is precious. There's no egos being thrown around.”

Noblezada agrees and giggles before saying, “But also, who doesn't want to be in a musical with Jeremy Jordan?” You’ve got that right, old sport.

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