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Upper East Side 'Romeo & Juliet' from TBTB Begins March 5

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (formerly Theater by the Blind) will begin previews of Romeo and Juliet, traditional, rigidly faithful to Shakespeare's rules and form, yet wonderfully fresh and modern, March 5, 2008 at The Kirk at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd St.. (between 9th and 10th Avenues). The official opening will be on Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 3PM. Ike Schambelan directs.

Performances are Wednesday thru Sunday: Wednesday & Thursday at 7PM; and Friday & Saturday at 8PM. Matinees are Saturday & Sunday at 3PM.

The story takes place on NYC's Upper East Side; the Capulets are nouveau riche, the Montagues, old money. Shakespeare is incredibly precise about real time in Romeo and Juliet, tracing five days – Sunday dawn to Friday dawn in mid-July. In TBTB's production, the time progression will be perfectly clear, taking the audience through each day's dawn, bright noon, sunset, and night. And the "two hours traffic of our stage" will actually take two hours.

TBTB has achieved great success with Shakespearean plays presented during the past two seasons – A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet.  Emboldened by these successes, TBTB tackles Romeo and Juliet with four actors playing all of the roles, without cutting a single scene, character or entrance. As Shakespeare's company made more money, the playwright wrote for larger casts, but Romeo and Juliet is an early play, created when he likely worked with a smaller company. It's designed as a quartet; key doubles are Juliet/Mercutio, Romeo/Lady Capulet, Nurse/Friar and Capulet/Benvolio. The doubling brings out the sense of fun in the play, joining its sad and joyous elements into an exuberant life-affirming whole.

Director Ike Schambelan has been a theatrical director, teacher and critic for 43 years.  He has a bachelors degree from Swarthmore College and a Doctor of Fine Arts from Yale Drama School.  He has directed at the Long Wharf Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, The New Dramatists, Equity Library Theatre, the Pittsburgh Playhouse and the George Street Playhouse.  He has been Artistic Director of the Touring Company and Children's Theatre at Long Wharf for two years, of the Woodstock Playhouse for two years and of the Austen Riggs Theatre for seven years.  He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and of Actors' Equity.  As founder and Artistic Director of Theater By The Blind he has built it for 29 years into an Off-Broadway company recognized for doing first class art.  He credits his interest in theater by the blind to his blind grandmother who lived with the family from the time he was six until she died when he was ten.  They went to the movies together and curled up in her bed Monday nights to listen to Lux Radio Theatre.

The cast features George Ashiotis, Gregg Mozgala, Nicholas Viselli, and Emily Young. Set and Lighting Design is by Bert Scott, Costume Design is by Chloe Chapin, Fight Director is J. David Brimmer and Stage Manager is Kimothy Cruz.

The Kirk at Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues) in New York City.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling 212-279-4200 or purchased by calling 212-279-4200 or logging on to

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