Syracuse University Drama Will Bring Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET to the Stage

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Syracuse University Drama Will Bring Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET to the Stage

The Syracuse University Department of Drama is beginning the spring semester with William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Directed by faculty member Thom Miller, this production brings a fresh take to Shakespeare's timeless classic about a pair of star-crossed lovers. "Romeo and Juliet" previews on Feb. 14 and opens on Feb. 15 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, 820 E. Genesee St.

First performed at The Globe Theatre in 1595, "Romeo and Juliet" has been subject to countless interpretations. Some of them, such as Franco Zaffirelli's version from the 1960s, stick to the more traditional style, while others, such as Baz Luhrman's 1996 film "Romeo + Juliet," was set in the 1990s. The play has also served as inspiration for other pieces, one of the most notable of which is Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's "West Side Story."

Thom Miller's production of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" envisions the story about feuding families and forbidden lovers in the present day. Miller describes his production as a "Contemporary investigation of a classical play. We had to ask, what does a family look like in 2020? What does love look like in 2020?" One of the ways that Miller explores these questions is through the gender bending casting of musical theater major Isabel Rodriguez as Romeo and acting major Megan Wilcox as Mercutio. With this casting, the original plot remains intact while also asking us to consider the function of gender in our society today.

In picking the season, Department Chair Ralph Zito made sure to ask "If we are going to do Shakespeare, how are we going do it? What themes do we highlight?" By considering these questions, we allow for a "more inclusive interpretation that allows students to engage with a familiar work in an unfamiliar way."

While the production brings fresh perspective to Shakespeare's story, certain fundamental truths remain, as Miller points out: "The language of love isn't a sonnet. It isn't really anything to do with speaking. The language of love is listening."

In conjunction with the production, the Department of Drama continues its "Salon Series" by presenting a panel discussion and Q & A session, "Brawling Love/Loving Hate: Contemporary Reflections on Discourse and Discord in 'Romeo and Juliet,'" on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 4:30 pm in the Archbold Theatre. The discussion is free and open to the public. No tickets required. Panelists include Kal Alston, Professor, Cultural Foundations of Education and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Education; Whitney Phillips, Assistant Professor, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, College of Visual and Performing Arts; Stephanie Shirilan, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, English, College of Arts and Sciences; and Thom Miller, the show's director Assistant Professor, Department of Drama, College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare

Adapted and Directed by Thom Miller

Scenic Design: Robert John Andrusko

Costume Design: Marilyn Wechsler

Lighting Design: Martin E. Vreeland

Sound Design: Kevin O'Connor

Movement Choreographer: Reagan Rees

Fight Choreographer: Felix Ivanov

Voice/Verse Coach: Holly Thuma

Intimacy Coordinator: Alec Barbour

Stage Manager: Sarah Preston

Cast

Michael Cagnetta Friar Laurence

Chidube Egbo Montague, Friar John, Mercutio's Page

Emily Hernandez Lady Montague, Apothecary, Paris' Page

Tyler Jessey Sampson, 2nd Watchman

Clara Napolitano Juliet

Giochino Orrico Benvolio, 1st Watchman

Pauline Pauwels Lady Capulet

Yasmin Ranz-Lind Balthsar, Servingman at Capulet's Party

Jack Rento Tybalt

Isabel Rodriguez Romeo

Eli Schwartz Peter

Caleb Sheedy Gregory, 3rd Watchman

Olivia St. Peter Nurse, Prince

Charlie Towle Paris, Abraham

Megan Wilcox Mercutio

Christopher Zaccaro Capulet

Additional Credits

Dance Captain: Olivia St. Peter

Fight Captain: Charlie Towle

Assistant Directors: Julia Catalano, Andi Voigt

Assistant Scenic Designer: Allison Turlo

Assistant Costume Designers: Genevieve Kaylyn Phanhthaly, Adeline Santello

Assistant Lighting Designers: Cara Spindel, Sarah Schultz

Assistant Fight Choreographers: Logan Shiller, Rodrigo Altamirano

Assistant Stage Managers: Lauren Krohn, Kiara Brown, Soumya Tadepalli

Casting Associate: Wallis Dean

Performance Dates

Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. (preview)

Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. (opening)

Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. (ASL interpreted)

Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.

Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.

Feb. 21 at 8 p.m.

Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. (open captioning)

Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.

Special Event: Sunday Salon Series

Brawling Love/Loving Hate: Contemporary Reflections on Discourse and Discord in "Romeo and Juliet"

A Panel Discussion and Q&A

Sunday, Feb. 16

4:30 p.m.

Archbold Theatre

Panelists:

Kal Alston, professor, Cultural Foundations of Education and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Education

Whitney Phillips, assistant professor, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, College of Visual and Performing Arts

Stephanie Shirilan, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, English, College of Arts and Sciences

Thom Miller, "Romeo and Juliet" director and assistant professor, Department of Drama, College of Visual and Performing Arts

This discussion is free and open to the public. No tickets required.

Performances of "Rome and Juliet" with open captioning or American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation are noted. For an accommodations request for the Sunday Salon, contact Ralph Zito at rzito@syr.edu.



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