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‘The Great Gatsby’ Opens At Merced College

‘The Great Gatsby’ at the Merced College Theater marks the first public performances for the department since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The Great Gatsby’ at the Merced College Theater marks the first public performances for the department since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Merced College Theater Department returned to the stage Friday night, March 25, with the first of six performances of The Great Gatsby. The production marks the first public performances for the department since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very excited to welcome the Merced community back to our theater for our live events, in particular after several years of online performances only,” said John Albano, Dean of Fine & Performing Arts and Social Sciences. “Our students look forward to the interaction with audiences, which is a central component of the learning process as well as the joy of live performance in the arts.”

Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan, as Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, is drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger. The breathtaking glamour and decadent excess of the Jazz Age captured in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel are brought to the stage in Simon Levy’s adaptation, approved by the Fitzgerald Estate.

“Live theater returns!” said Professor Lauren McCue-Bryx, the show’s director. “And with it, opportunities to collaborate on The Great Gatsby with Merced College students, staff and the community. We bring to life this modern American classic with live jazz music, 1920s dancing Flappers, enchanting period costumes by Christine Silveira and stunning scenic and lighting design by Chad Phillips.”

All performances will be held at the Merced College Theater, 3600 M Street, Merced. The schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 27, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 1, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.

The cast and crew of production are nearly all Merced College students, including Ezra Cross as Jay Gatsby, Alyssa McCabe as Daisy Buchanan, Zak Dimpel-Alvarez as Nick Carraway, Danielle Pasos as Jordan Baker, Christian Smith as Tom Buchanan, Matthew Rivera as George Wilson, and Vickie Costa as Myrtle Wilson. Music student Cody Benner, the production’s musical director, also contributed some original music.

“The Great Gatsby has shifted from my favorite literary work of all time to the most exciting show I’ve been a part of to date,” said Vickie Costa, a first-year music and theater student who plays Myrtle Wilson. “I had so much fun bringing my favorite character to life while making lasting, meaningful friendships along the way with people who are just as passionate about the show.”

Tickets are $10 for general admission and can be purchased at the Box Office one hour before showtime, at the Merced College Bookstore during normal business hours, and at Student tickets are discounted to $5 for the March 31 performance. For information, call 209-386-6644.

The full cast and crew are listed below, with majors:

Genesis Acasio, Theatre Arts; Michael Alcocer, Undecided; Tess Barclay, Theatre Arts; Tatianna Bunthoff, Theater; Jared Carrillo, Theatre Arts; Denice Chavez, Theatre Arts; Nicole Clarkson, Theatre Arts; Vickie Costa, Music and Theatre Arts; Ezra Cross, Theatre Arts; Zak Dimpel-Alvarez, Music; Asia Joaquim, Theater; Angel Marie Gonzalez, Theatre Arts; Kyle Marchan, Theatre Arts; Alyssa McCabe, Liberal Arts; Jacob Mines, Undecided; Danielle Pasos, Theatre Arts; Noah Penfield, Theatre Arts; Zairah Quevedo, Social and Behavioral Science; Matthew Rivera, Communications; Jennifer Salas, Psychology; Olivia Sanchez, Theatre Arts; Ethan Stokes, Theatre Arts; Nate White, Theatre Arts; Kalani Perez, Community Member; Christian Smith, Community Member.

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