As great American novels go, The Great Gatsby is better suited to ballet than, say, Gravity’s Rainbow or Slaughterhouse-Five. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of new money/old money rivalry in the Jazz Age is replete with lyrical dialogue and references to the fox trot and other weird musical fads of the era. This explains why the novel continues to inspire new adaptations, from film (three so far, plus a made-for-TV movie starring pre-Anchorman Paul Rudd) to opera (the New York Metropolitan) and dance. The Washington Ballet’s version is not the first, following other Gatsby ballets by companies in Atlanta, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. But artistic director Septime Webre has the benefit of recessionary hindsight, as the lavish parties at Gatsby’s mansion will provide both a setting for big sheik-and-flapper dance numbers and a reminder of the type of profligate spending sprees that usually precede a big crash.
THE PERFORMANCE BEGINS AT 8 P.M. AT THE KENNEDY CENTER’S EISENHOWER THEATER, 2700 F ST. NW. $20-$125. (800) 444-1324.