The history of great American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his stormy relationship with his wife Zelda, who went slowly insane while Fitzgerald penned the classics "The Great Gatsby" and "Tender Is the Night," has been well-documented on stage and screen. Fitzgerald's other great affaire de coeur, with the gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, is less well known, but has been recreated in Gatsby in Hollywood, a world premiere drama playing Los Angeles' MET Theatre July 25-Aug. 31.
As a recovering alcoholic, Fitzgerald struck out alone in Hollywood in 1937, leaving Zelda at a hospital in North Carolina. Tinseltown, however, was no place for a sober writer and Fitzgerald soon returned to drink. He also fell in love with Graham and, while she taught him the ways of Hollywood, he helped her complete her education. Graham wrote about their relationship in "College of One" and Gregory Peck starred as Fitzgerald with Deborah Kerr as Graham in the film "Beloved Infidel." Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in Graham's apartment on December 21, 1940.
Joshua Rebell recounts this history in Gatsby in Hollywood. His other plays include Blue Xmas and Preying on Puritans.
Real-life newlyweds Jeff and A.K. Benninghofen star as Fitzgerald and Graham. Also in the cast are Shirley Anderson, Linus David Cate, Russell Edge, Ben Davis, Andrew Friedman, Richard Gustafson, Beth Kirkpatrick, Kara Keeley, Linda Miller, Silas Weir Mitchell, Deena Rubinson and Quinn Sullivan.
Gatsby in Hollywood opens July 27. Tickets are $20. For reservations, call (323) 957-1152. — By Christine Ehren