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Not Your Grandmother's ROMEO AND JULIET to Take the Stage at Archway Theatre

Not Your Grandmother's ROMEO AND JULIET to Take the Stage at Archway Theatre Fast becoming the North Hollywood Arts District's premiere classical theatre company, the Archway Theatre is known as an "outside of the box" black box theatre with a resident company of actors who embrace, and indeed often tackle with ferocity the texts of classical works.

The award-winning company traditionally presents two Shakespeare productions each season. This season they open "Romeo and Juliet" on the heels of their critically acclaimed production of "The Winter's Tale."

"We are overjoyed to present our first resident company production of the season with this beautiful and iconic piece of theatre," said Steven Sabel, Archway producing artistic director.

Sabel helms the production, which features a cast primarily composed of Archway Theatre resident company members. Leading the cast are Will Holbrook and Kei'la Ryan in the title roles.

Will Holbrook is the grandson of famous stage and screen actor HAl Holbrook ("Mark Twain Tonight," "Into The Wild"), and thus stems from a pedigreed theatre background unrivaled in the modern age. His previous Archway Theatre credits include appearances in "Hamlet," and "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Ryan is a native of Texas with a degree in theatre from Texas A&M University. Her favorite credits include Agnes in "Bug," and Barbara in "August: Osage County." She last appeared at the Archway as Ophelia in "Hamlet."

"It is incredible to explore these two iconic roles with such magnificent young talent. These two actors have been preparing for this since we announced our season last fall, and it is an incredible experience as a director to watch them work together," Sabel said.

Also in the cast are Archway resident company members recognizable for their previous performances on the Archway stage, including John Eddings ("Major Barbara," "Oedipus-Antigone," "Hamlet"), Hillary Weintraub ("Oedipus-Antigone," "Much Ado About Nothing"), Mel Virgo ("The Importance of Being Earnest," "Oedipus-Antigone," "Dracula), Taylor Marr ("Hamlet," Much Ado About Nothing"), Adam David Green ("Major Barbara," "Much Ado About Nothing"), and Eric Castro ("Hamlet").

"The great advantage of a company structure is not only in the hand-selected talent and advanced knowledge of the text, but also in the short-hand the actors have in working together. We all speak the same artistic language. We can read each other's creative instinct, and there's an instant comfort level that allows actors to bring better and bolder choices to their process," said Sabel.

Rounding out the cast are Irwin Moskowitz, Banks Boutte, Drew Petriello, Richard Conolly, Jason DeWitt, and Katie Ghidossi.

"Adding new talent to the mix helps inject new energy and new ideas that electrify the rehearsal process. It is so thrilling to be collaborating with this talented ensemble to tell this beautiful story," Sabel said.

"This isn't going to be your grandmother's 'Romeo and Juliet,' this cast is embracing all of the visceral, violent, and immensely sexual aspects of the text. This show is going to be hot like a Verona Summer," he said.

"Romeo and Juliet" opens Saturday, Feb. 18. The Archway's traditional opening gala reception will be held after the performance, featuring Italian food and drinks with the cast and crew. The production runs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays through March 19. General admission tickets: $30. Discounted tickets available for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more. For additional information, visit www.archwayla.com or call (818)980-7529.

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