Arden Theatre Company Ends Run of ROMEO AND JULIET

Arden Theatre Company will end run of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet on April 11. The production was under the direction of Matt Pfeiffer and featuring a diverse ensemble cast of Philadelphia favorites.

While the story of Romeo and Juliet has been in human consciousness for centuries, the Arden's production challenges preconceptions of the play, stripping the story down to focus on characters and language. When Shakespeare's company first presented Romeo and Juliet , they made use of the resources, knowledge and clothing of the time. The Arden's production will bring a similar sense of familiarity and immediacy to the play, pairing modern fashions and contemporary compositions with handheld weapons and a simple stage reminiscent of Shakespeare's Globe.

"The families in Romeo and Juliet deal with two extreme emotions - love and hate. In their world, violence ultimately comes at a cost. A play that holds hate to its consequence is always compelling," says director Matt Pfeiffer. In addition to past work at the Arden on Wittenberg and Go, Dog. Go!, Pfeiffer has seen much success directing in the Philadelphia area. Notably, he has worked at Theatre Exile on Glengarry GLen Ross (David Mamet) and Bug (Tracy Letts). Pfeiffer's skill in forging muscular, combustible performances will fuel this cast of acclaimed and familiar Philadelphia actors.

In the title role of Romeo, Evan Jonigkeit returns to the Arden after appearing in The History Boys. Jonigkeit previously played Romeo in Mauckingbird Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's R&J. The production's Juliet also recently tackled her role at Virginia Stage Company. Mahira Kakkar makes her Arden debut as Juliet, though she has previously worked with the Arden's Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen in Opus at Primary Stages in New York City. Also making their Arden debuts in this production are Temple graduate Matt Lorenz as Paris and current Temple undergrad Sean Lally as Tybalt.

Ten actors in the Romeo and Juliet cast have previously worked at the Arden, including Scott Greer as Lord Capulet (Something Intangible, Candide, Assassins and the upcoming Sunday in the Park with George), Frank X as Lord Montague (The History Boys and Peter Pan, both this season), Anthony Lawton as Friar Laurence (The Seafarer, A Prayer for Owen Meany) and Brian Anthony Wilson as the Prince (Our Town, The Piano Lesson). Also returning to the Arden are Melanye Finister as Lady Capulet (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Krista Apple as Lady Montague (Our Town), Suzanne O'Donnell as the Nurse (Dancing at Lughnasa, Hamlet), James William Ijames as Benvolio (James and the Giant Peach), and Shawn Fagan as Mercutio (Wittenberg).

The design team includes set designer Brian Sidney Bembridge (Go, Dog. Go!), costume designer Rosemarie E. McKelvey (Barrymore award winner for Something Intangible), lighting designer Thom Weaver (Blue Door, My Name is Asher Lev), and original composition and sound design by James Sugg (My Name Is Asher Lev, four Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Sound Design). The production team also includes fight director Dale Girard, who recently staged fights for Two River Theatre Company's Macbeth, directed by Arden co-founder Aaron Posner.

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