"The Great Gatsby" Ballet is a huge success!
Billy was commissioned
by The Washington (DC) Ballet to create a period score for their original production of The
Great Gatsby. His collaboration with choreographer and company artistic director Septime Webre was a huge success,
selling out 6 of 7 shows at the Eishower Theater at the Kennedy Center and it was the best-selling show in the history of
the Washington Ballet.
Washington Post review of the performance raved about the music:
" Bringing in Boston-based jazz expert Billy Novick and
his band ... was a brilliant move.
The result is that for its musical splendors alone "Gatsby" is a remarkable
event, an evening of explosive, ticklish and swooning live jazz (songs of the era, filled out with Novick's compositions),
played with a verve to spark your thirst for hooch. Especially wonderful are the dark and cinematic early Ellington tunes
("East St. Louis Toodle-oo," "Saturday Night Function"), percolating jammers such as Tommy Dorsey's sly
"It's Tight Like That," and Irving Berlin's ruminative "What'll I Do?" -- which echoes through the ballet
as the theme for Jay Gatsby's romantic longings."
The Great Gatsby was performed again at the Kennedy Center in November of 2011 and
was met with the same critical and audience response as in the premiere. The Washington Post STILL loved the music.....
first bit of action in Septime ?Webre’s “The Great Gatsby” is the emergence of the jazz band, rising on
a lift from the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater’s orchestra pit, the tuba and string bass glowing under the lights
like oil lamps.
It’s fitting that vocalist E. Faye Butler and the six musicians of Billy Novick’s Blue Syncopators
receive such a prominent introduction, because they are the starring attraction of this production, which the Washington Ballet
reprised Thursday after its February 2010 premiere. It is the music — vintage selections by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong,
Irving Berlin and more — that not only sets the mood for each scene but contributes to the emotional and dramatic tension,
helps define the characters and distinguishes one episode from another. "
And now there's a soundtrack CD!
Listen to the CD
Purchase the CD now