Veteran director Brenda Erwin leads the artistic vision in brining F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby” to the Picketwire stage, opening on April 20.

Veteran director Brenda Erwin leads the artistic vision in brining F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby” to the Picketwire stage, opening on April 20. “I have always loved the look of the 1920s. The design of the era is beautiful and I’m really excited to bring that to the stage,” explained Erwin. From architecture to clothing, the 1920s have a very distinctive feel that Ewin and her creative team has sought to capture in their production of “The Great Gatsby.” “It has been a unique and fun challenge to work with this material,” stated Erwin. Erwin’s production follows the long tradition celebrating Fitzgerald’s most beloved work through the arts.

“The Great Gatsby” first graced the stage in a 1926 stage adaptation by Owen Davis. Davis’ adaptation debuted on Feb. 2, 1926. This wasn’t to be the only form that Fitzgerald’s novel would take. Over the years “The Great Gatsby” has been adapted as a ballet, radio drama, major motion picture, and most recently an opera. Although now considered to be an American literary classic, Fitzgerald’s jazz era epoch was not an immediate success. When it was released in April of 1925, “The Great Gatsby” received lukewarm reviews, selling only 20,000 copies in its first years. Indeed, Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself to be a failed writer. He went to his grave anticipating that his works would be largely forgotten. However, this was far from the truth, as most American high school students can attest to.

“The Great Gatsby” experienced a surprise revival during the mid-1940s, and became a part of the larger social conversation of what constituted the “American Dream.” The novel worked its way into high school curricula and numerous stage and film adaptations in the following decades. It has held steady in popularity ever since. In 1998, the Modern Library editorial board voted it the 20th century's best American novel and second best English-language novel of the same time period. Pickewire now invites audiences come and experience their take on this enduring classic.

Show dates for “The Great Gatsby” are April 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $12. To reserve tickets, visit the Picketwire Center for Performing and Visual Arts at 802 San Juan in La Junta, Colorado. Box office hours are 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday starting April 10. Call 384-8320 or visit picketwireplayers.org.