BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Reaches Perfection
"My only love sprung from my only hate."
by Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) continues its successful 57th season with a timeless gem. William Shakespeare's beloved masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet is now on the Madison stage through November 17. The show features a gifted cast of twenty, including a number of the Company's well-known members. It is keenly directed by Ian Belknap, the Artistic Director of New York's highly esteemed, The Acting Company. This affecting play is one of the best productions of Romeo and Juliet you'll ever experience. We suggest you get your tickets soon. It is sure to attract a huge audience.
Set in the Italian Renaissance, the play tells of the vendetta between two families living in Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets. When young Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall deeply in love, they must hide their relationship from their families. Juliet is expected to marry County Paris, a union arranged by her father. Aided by Juliet's dedicated Nurse and Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet secretly marry. When Romeo participates in a street duel that leads to the death of Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, he is banished from Verona. Romeo and Juliet are desperate to be together, but a complex plot that is devised by Friar Lawrence to unite them goes terribly awry. Both the Montagues and the Capulets face great tragedy, the loss of their children. It is then and only then, that the families realize the consequences of their unnecessary hatred.
The cast is so skillful in their respective roles, they bring every moment of the Bard's classic story to full life. Leading the cast is Miranda Rizzolo as Juliet; Keshav Moodliar as Romeo; Mark Elliot Wilson as Lord Capulet; Erin Partin as Lady Capulet; Matthew Sullivan as Friar Lawrence; and Aedin Moloney as The Nurse. Other cast members include Jason C. Brown as Prince Escalus; Michael Dale as Lord Montague; Isaac Hickox-Young as Benvolio; Lucas Iverson as Peter; Torsten Johnson as Tybalt; Joshua David Robinson as Mercutio; and Ryan Woods as Paris. Rounding out the cast in various roles are Jeffrey Marc Alkins, Lèna Chilingerian, Christian Frost, Landon Hawkins.
The actors move deftly from scene to scene as they master Shakespeare's compelling dialogues, witty speeches, and beautiful poetry. Romeo and Juliet is filled with dazzling sword fights, intense romance, tension, and even some comedy. Unforgettable scenes include the ball given by the Capulets; Juliet talking to Romeo from her balcony; The Nurse telling Juliet of Tybalt's death; Romeo's banishment from Verona; Lady Capulet announcing Juliet's marriage to County Paris; Lord Capulet angrily insisting Juliet marry Paris; Friar Lawrence giving Juliet the potion that would imitate her death; and Romeo entering the tomb where Juliet lies in a deep sleep.
The design team has done a fantastic job of bringing Romeo and Juliet to the stage. They include scenic design by Lee Savage; costume design by Paul Canada; lighting design by Michael Giannitti; sound design by Fabian Obispo and fight direction by Rick Sordelet. The Production Stage Manager is Larry Copeland.
Romeo and Juliet is the inspiration for countless stories people have embraced throughout the ages that portray star-crossed lovers, feuding families, and tragedy that results from animosity. The play has not been produced as part of STNJ's Main Stage season in over a decade. Metro area theatergoers will certainly be pleased that it has being performed for the fall season.
Tickets for Romeo and Juliet at The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre are now available. The show runs for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. They begin at $49 for regular performances. The Theatre is proud to continue its 30 UNDER 30 program which provides patrons age 30 and under with tickets for only $30 with a valid ID. The Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road on Drew University's campus) in Madison, New Jersey. Patrons can purchase tickets at the Theatre's Box Office, by calling 973-408-5600 or by going online at https://www.shakespearenj.org/.
Photo Credit: Joe Guerin