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Hamptons Theater Review: Bay Street's "The Great Gatsby"

T.J. Clemente

Sara Carolynn Kennedy, Alexandra Kopko, John Kroft, and Dan Fenaughty. (Photo: Lenny Stucker/lenny stucker.com)

Opening night of The Great Gatsby at Bay Street Theater was a total success with the audience rising to their feet with thunderous applause. The play, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, was cleverly adapted for stage by Simon Levy as the ethereal language phrasing skills of Fitzgerald were sprinkled amply about. This production was another classic winner for Bay Street. Congratulations to both Artistic Director Scott Schwartz and Executive Director Tracy Mitchell for bringing this successful show to the Bay Street Theater stage.

The use of projection technology for sets and other effects was outstanding, perhaps the best I have ever seen at Bay Street - kudos to Brian C. Staton for the Projection Design. Director Joe Minutillo flawlessly moves his actors around the stage like a chess master.

This show has some extremely strong performances, starting with John Croft as Nick Carroway. His ease, stage presence and talent just carried the show as his narration, sometimes based on the actual words of Fitzgerald, were masterly performed.

Next I want to congratulate Sara Carolyn Kennedy as Daisy Buchanan. At times while delivering her most delicate lines she had the audience's attention so finely you could hear a pin drop. She delivered a wonderful performance.

I was also impressed with Alexandra Kopko as Jordon Baker. She seems to have been born for this role.

Dan Fenaughty excelled portraying Tom Buchanan, being perhaps the best actor I have seen play this role both on stage or on the big screen.

Amazing Amanda Kristin Nichols had a breakout performance with her role as Myrtle Wilson. Nichols' command of the stage and her powerful physical acting skills are indicators that something special is in her future. Take note of her name.

Chauncey Thomas is very powerful as George Wilson. The scenes with Amanda Kristin Nichols who plays his wife are explosive and successful.

Stephanie Turci and Scott Hinson showed their versatility handling two roles apiece, and very effectively.

The focus of this production is the F. Scott Fitzgerald created character, Jay Gatsby. It is a big role; a heavy role and Charlie Westfal totally handled the responsibility of being the focus of this play wonderfully. Accolades to Westfal who handsomely plays Jay Gatsby.

Do go see The Great Gatsby. It is a great representation of an important piece of American Literature done in a ninety-minute, one act play that will thrill you.

The Great Gatsby can be seen through November 25. Tickets range from $20 to $55.

Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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