‘The Great Gatsby’ at The Calumet Theatre

CALUMET – It’s been named as one of the greatest books of all time, it’s been adapted into a number of feature films and now it will be presented as a stage play. What exactly is this work being referred to? Why, it’s “The Great Gatsby,” old sport, and soon the splendor of the roaring 20s will be filling the stage of The Calumet Theatre.

For director Dave Heinz, he chose “The Great Gatsby” because it encapsulates the great American dream and thinks it’s from a time period that shows similarities to today’s age.

“I think we have a youth that has a kind of care-free nature,” Heinz said.

In addition to that, he wanted to do the stage play because it’s still pretty new, as it only came out in 2013.

“We actually had to fight for the royalties a little bit,” Heinz said. “Basically I had to establish that we are a good drama club program and that (the show) would be done correctly. I think they may have done a little research on us to see if we were worthy of it. It’s not an expensive show, but it’s new.”

It’s also the 10-year anniversary of the Calumet Drama Club, for which Heinz wanted to do something special.

Playing the role of Jay Gatsby will be Max Rudd and in the role of Daisy, Gatsby’s love interest, will be Meg Raasakka.

Rudd said he auditioned because he wanted to have a part in a play that allowed him to express himself on stage and continue his “tradition” of being in drama clubs.

“I wanted to come out of my shell a little bit,” Rudd said.

Raasakka said “The Great Gatsby” is a classic story and remembered reading it and loved it.

“Obviously I’m going to audition and try to get one of the leads and I achieved that goal,” Raasakka said.

With all the different iterations of “Gatsby” over the years, Rudd and Raasakka said they are trying to bring their own take to the parts they’re playing.

“I’m trying to bring something new to it,” Rudd said, citing confidence, being well-spoken and making himself more flexible in acting and speaking.

For Raasakka, the character of Daisy is so different from how she is in real life.

“It’s fun to step into a character with such different emotions,” Raasakka said.

Rudd enjoys being in this production of “Gatsby” because it’s allowed him to meet new people and experience playing such a vital role in a play.

“I’ve never done that before,” he said.

Raasakka loves the time period the show is set in.

“Learning to act like you’re from the ’20s, it’s different.”

“The Great Gatsby” opens Wednesday at 7 p.m. with an additional performance Thursday, April 10, also at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Children under 3 will receive free admission. There will also be a performance at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday for students only, which will cost $1.