Orlando Bloom & Condola Rashad-Led ROMEO AND JULIET Opens Tonight on Broadway
The new Broadway production of Shakespeare's timeless love story ROMEO AND JULIET starring international film star Orlando Bloom, making his Broadway debut opposite two-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad, officially opens tonight, Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (226 West 46th Street). ROMEO AND JULIET began previews on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 and is scheduled to run through Sunday, January 12th, 2014.
While ROMEO AND JULIET is the most famous love story of all time, this production - directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux - marks the first time in 36 years that the play has been produced for Broadway. This version of the classic tale retains Shakespeare's original language but has a modern setting in which members of the Montague family are white, and the Capulet family are black.
The production also stars Tony Award winner Brent Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Friar Laurence, two-time Tony Award nomineeJayne Houdyshell (Well, Follies) as the Nurse, Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (The Life, "House Of Cards") as Lord Capulet,Christian Camargo (All My Sons, The Hurt Locker) as Mercutio, Roslyn Ruff (The Piano Lesson, The Help) as Lady Capulet, Conrad Kemp (HBO's "The Girl", Jerome Salle's Zulu) as Benvolio, Justin Guarini (American Idiot, Women on the Verge...) as Paris, Corey Hawkins as Tybalt, and Geoffrey Owens as Prince Escalus. Completing the cast are Donte Bonner, Joe Carroll, Don Guillory, Sheria Irving, Maurice Jones, Eric Loscheider, Spencer Plachy, Michael Rudko, Tracy Sallows, Thomas Schall, Carolyn Michelle Smith and Nance Williamson.
The creative team includes Scenic Designer Jesse Poleshuck (Sly Fox), Costume Designer Fabio Toblini, Lighting Designer David Weiner (The Normal Heart, Grace), Sound Designer David Van Tieghem (The Lyons, Doubt), and Hair Designer David BrIan Brown(Death of a Salesman, Follies).
One of Shakespeare's best known and most beloved plays, ROMEO AND JULIET belongs to a tradition of tragic-romances dating back over 500 years. The famous youthful lovers first appeared in Italian novella in the 1500's and gained popularity in England after being adapted and translated into English by Arthur Brooke in 1562. As described in Brooke's poem, "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet" - on which Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is based - while the Montagues and Capulets are from different "races" or "stocks" their deadly feud is not based on their race, but rather on the "grudging envy" of men of "equal state." In this new production, the members of the Montague household will be white, and the blood relatives of the Capulet family will be black. While race defines the family lineages, the original cause of the 'ancient quarrel', passed down by successive generations to their young, has been lost to time. Shakespeare's dramatization of the original poem sets the two young lovers in a context of prejudice, authoritarian parents, and a never ending cycle of 'revenge.' Against this background, the strength of their love changes the world.