Florence Welch is ditching the machine for musicals.
The Grammy-nominated leader of British band Florence + The Machine is supplying the lyrics and co-writing music for a musical stage adaptation of The Great Gatsby, it was announced on 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 into a film, 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.
“It contains some of my favourite lines in literature. Musicals were my first love, and I feel a deep connection to Fitzgerald’s broken romanticism. It is an honour 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 UK 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.
But 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 theatre 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.