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Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad to Lead David Leveaux-Helmed ROMEO AND JULIET on Broadway; Opens September 19 at Richard Rodgers Theatre

International film star Orlando Bloom will make his Broadway debut alongside Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad, as Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers in a new Broadway production of the timeless love story Romeo and Juliet, directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux. The show will open on Broadway on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, following preview performances from Saturday, August 24, 2013. The production will also star two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell as the Nurse and Tony Award nominee Joe Morton as Lord Capulet.

While Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story of all time, this production will mark the first time in 36 years that the play will be produced for Broadway. This version of the classic tale will retain Shakespeare's original language but have a modern setting in which members of the contentious Montague and Capulet families will be of differing ethnicities.

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.

"Shakespeare did not only write of his world - he imagined ours," said Leveaux. "The very improbability that two young people might, through their imaginations and their courage, change the world by overcoming the cynical tyranny of division handed down to them by their elders, is the best and happily most improbable reason I can imagine to bring this story to the Broadway stage today."

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.

Tickets are available exclusively to Audience Rewards ( members beginning today, Monday, April 1, 2013 at NOON and will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 8, 2013 via (1-800-745-3000) for performances through Sunday, November 24, 2013. In order to make this production accessible to all, 100 tickets per performance will be set aside at $20 for purchase by students and educators.

Further casting and additional creative team members will be announced at a later date. Orlando Bloom is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association.

ORLANDO BLOOM (Romeo) had his breakthrough roles in 2001 as the elf-prince "Legolas" in The 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. He recently reprised his role as "Legolas" in The Hobbit trilogy and just completed filming Zulu with Forest Whitaker. Bloom, who was a member of the National Youth Theatre, earned a scholarship to study with the British American Drama Academy, attended the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama in London, and made his professional stage debut in the West End's In Celebration at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2007. In 2011, Orlando 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 a 2012 Tony Nomination for her performance in Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys and Nelle Nugent and directed by Kenny Leon. 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 include Tambourines 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" and appears on Broadway this season in The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Ms. Rashad is branching out into music with a forthcoming solo album the letter9.

JAYNE HOUDYSHELL (Nurse) was most recently seen on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts. Ms. Houdyshell is a two time Tony Nominee earning her first in Lisa Kron's play Well, and her second for delivering the Sondheim showstopper "Broadway Baby" in Follies. Other Broadway credits include Wicked, Bye Bye Birdie and The Importance of Being Earnest. Houdyshell has appeared off-Broadway in The Language Archive, Coraline, The Receptionist, The New Century, The Pain and the Itch and Much Ado About Nothing. Film and television credits include Lucky Stiff, Everybody's Fine, Morning Glory, Trust the Man and Garden State, as well as guest appearances on "Law & Order,", "Law & Order: SVU", "Conviction," and "Third Watch."

JOE MORTON (Lord Capulet) was nominated for a Best Actor Tony Award for his performance as Walter Lee Younger in the musical Raisin, and has also starred on Broadway in Art (as Serge), and Two Gentlemen of Verona (as Valentine), Hair (as both Hud and Claude), and portrayed Colin Powell in David Hare's, Stuff Happens at The National Theatre in London. He directed the original American Touring Company of Jesus Christ Superstar and recently, Robert Johnson at 100 at the Apollo Theatre in addition to several off-Broadway productions. He has appeared in over 70 movies, including John Sayles' Brother From Another Planet (as the Brother), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (as Dr. Miles Bennett Dyson), Speed (as Capt. McMahon) and Blues Brothers 2000 (as Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain, based upon the late Cab Calloway). He played several leading men and made many notable TV guest appearances, including Dr. Steven Hamilton in Smallville, Daniel Golden in The Good Wife, defense attorney Leon Chiles on Law & Order, , Equal Justice, Under One Roof, E-Ring, X-Files, Tribeca, House, and Boston Legal. Recently, Mr. Morton was a series regular as the jack-of-all-trades scientist, Henry Deacon, on Syfy's Eureka, for which he also directed. He is currently portraying a recurring character (Rowan) on ABC's Scandal.

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 Figaro and Salome at the English National Opera.

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