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ROMEO AND JULIET, Starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, Closes on Broadway Today

The Broadway production of Shakespeare's timeless love story ROMEO AND JULIET, starring international film star Orlando Bloom in his Broadway debut opposite two-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad, closes today, December 8, 2013, after 27 previews and 93 regular performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (226 West 46th Street). Directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux, Romeo and Juliet began previews on Saturday, August 24, 2013 and opened on Thursday, September 19, 2013.

The production also stars Tony Award winner Brent Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Friar Laurence, two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Well, Follies) as the Nurse, Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (The Life, "House Of Cards") as Lord Capulet, Christian Camargo (All My Sons, "Dexter") 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 areDonte 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 DesignerDavid BrIan Brown (Death of a Salesman, Follies).

While Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story of all time, this production 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.

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 are white, and the blood relatives of the Capulet family are 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.

The last time Romeo and Juliet was produced on Broadway was the 1977 Circle in the Square production featuring Paul Ryan Rudd and Pamela Payton-Wright. Other notable New York productions include: The Public Theater's 2012 gala staged-reading at the Delacorte Theater starring Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep; the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2011 production at the Park Avenue Armory starring Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale; The Public Theater's 2007 Shakespeare in the Park production starring Oscar Isaac and Lauren Ambrose; the 1986 Shakespeare on Broadway for the Schools repertory production starring Geoffrey Owens and ReGina Taylor; The Old Vic Company's 1956 production at the Winter Garden Theater starring John Neville and Claire Bloom; as well as the 1940 Broadway production starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

Orlando Bloom is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. Conrad Kemp is appearing with the support of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity.

Orlando Bloom (Romeo) had his breakthrough roles in 2001 as the elf-prince "Legolas" in the Academy Award-winning film trilogyThe Lord of the Rings and in 2003 as blacksmith "Will Turner" in the Pirates of The Caribbean film series. He subsequently established himself as a leading man in Hollywood films, including Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. His other notable films include Black Hawk Down; Troy; Haven; New York, I Love You; Sympathy For Delicious; The Three Musketeers and The Good Doctor. Bloom recently starred opposite Forest Whitaker in Zulu and will reprise his role as Legolas in The Hobbit trilogy. A graduate of the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Bloom made his professional stage debut in the West End's In Celebration at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2007. In 2011, he returned to the stage in a collection of Shakespearean texts for world-renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In October 2009, Bloom was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has worked with the organization in Nepal, Madagascar and Cape Town to advocate on behalf of the rights of children, including access to quality education and clean water.

Condola Rashad (Juliet) received 2012 and 2013 Tony Nominations for her performances in Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys and Nelle Nugent and directed by Kenny Leon, and The Trip to Bountiful starring opposite Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Previously, she received rave reviews for her performance in Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize winning play, Ruined, for which she received a Theatre World Award as well as a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. Her other theater credits includeTambourines To Glory at the ALLIANCE THEATRE, directed by Kenny Leon, and Pearl at the Kennedy Center, directed by Debbie Allen. Rashad's film and TV credits include 30 Beats opposite Justin Kirk and Lee Pace, Sex and the City 2, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Smash, Georgetown, and The Good WifE. Rashad recently starred opposite Queen Latifah and Alfre Woodard in Lifetime's "Steel Magnolias". Ms. Rashad is branching out into music with a forthcoming album the letter9.

David Leveaux (Director) Five Tony Award nominations for Best Director, including for the musical Nine starring Antonio Banderas; Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing with Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle, and Jumpers with Simon Russell Beale and Essie Davis; and Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie starring Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, and A Moon For the Misbegotten starring Kate Nelligan. Other Broadway credits include: Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, Cyrano de Bergerac starring Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner, The Glass Menagerie starring Jessica Lange, Fiddler on the Roof with Alfred Molina and subsequently Harvey Fierstein, Betrayal with Liev Schrieber, Juliette Binoche and John Slattery, and Electra starring Zoe Wanamaker; and, for the Atlantic Theater Company: Through a Glass Darkly starring Carey Mulligan, and CQ/CX. London theater includes: the upcoming revival of Peter Nichols' Passion Play with Zoe Wanamaker, also Backbeat, Arcadia, The Late Middle Classes, Sinatra Live at the London Palladium, Electra, The Father, No Man's Land, Moonlight, Betrayal, The Distance From Here, Tis Pity She's a Whore, A Moon for the Misbegotten, and The Marriage of Figaroand Salome at the English National Opera.

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