ROMEO & JULIET: HARD WAY HOME Comes to University Theatre
Romeo & Juliet: Hard Way Home will open at the CSULB University Theatre on Friday November 8th at 7:30 PM. An adaptation conceived by director Beth Lopes, the production will have a single preview performance on November 7th at 7:30 PM. Performances will continue through November 16th.
This production was dually inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Brandi Carlile's album, Bear Creek. This fair Verona exists in a dusty, isolated locale; the whistle of the passing train echoes the longing of our characters to find something greater than their small-town world. A talented young group of singers and dancers with live musicians will be weaving several songs from Brandi Carlile's album Bear Creek into the timeless magic of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Carlile herself described this album as an ode to "independence, freedom and just youthfulness." Lopes' production "captures that sweet fleeting moment of freedom and independence between these two tragic lovers," says Artistic Director Jeff Janisheski.
Whether it be to find love, purpose or themselves, our heroes and heroines are searching, and singing Bear Creek is their expression: the spiritual power of Friar Lawrence resonates in the gospel influences; the excitement and danger of Romeo and Juliet's first meeting is exemplified in the sexy chaos of "Raise Hell;" and, most importantly, "Hard Way Home" perfectly encapsulates the heartbreak, longing, and unending hope of growing up.
Beth Lopes is a freelance theater director, teacher, and an Associate Artistic Director of New Swan Shakespeare Festival. Deeply committed to telling stories for the present moment, Beth is intent on fostering original work and making classics relevant for new generations. She is particularly drawn to pieces with heightened text, a sense of the fantastical, and a focus on community. Beth is a highly collaborative director who believes in the connective power of theater and its ability to alter our individual and collective futures. Her work includes seven seasons at New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook and The Velveteen Rabbit at South Coast Repertory, the regional premiere of Grand Concourse at Theatre Horizon, and the world premieres of Nicky at the Couerage Theatre Company and Atlas Pit at the LA New Court Theatre. Beth is a proud member of SDC. For more information visit her website: www.bethlopes.com.
Brandi Carlile 3-time Grammy Award winner Brandi Carlile was recently seen in a sold-out show at Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall, performing songs from Joni Mitchell's album Blue. Carlile's unique blend of Americana, gospel, bluegrass, folk and alt-country is a gorgeous, swirling soundtrack for our "star-crossed lovers". Carlile released her first self-titled debut album in 2005. That album, along with her 2012 release Bear Creek, were both #1 on the US Folk charts. Her 2019 release, By the Way, I Forgive You has gone on the greatest success of Brandi's career, earning her 3 Grammy awards and the top of the US Rock charts.
Featuring: Mikayla Conley, Matt Avery, Ray Post, Nathan Fennacy, Bianca Tolentino, Madison Lewis, Brenden Mukanos, Sarah-Michele Guei, Jason Rivera, Malakai Howard, Annajane Murphy, Joe Laurente, Emily Coleman, and Cecilia Rodriguez
Creative team: Adapted and directed by Beth Lopes, musical direction and arrangements by Kyle Puccia, choreography by Andrew Pearson; featuring set design by Natalie Morales, lighting design by David Zahecewski, sound design by Hunter Moody, and costume design by Ashley Trutanich. This workshop production is being produced by California Repertory Company at CSULB, Artistic Director Jeff Janisheski.