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Curio Theatre Continues Season with Re-Imagined ROMEO AND JULIET, Now thru 11/2

This fall, Curio Theatre Company is taking audiences into Verona, Italy for a very different look at one of William Shakespeare's most beloved works, Romeo and Juliet. Previews begin tonight, October 3. The show opens Friday, October 11 and runs through November 2. All performances are at 8 p.m. This production showcases this classic work through a new lens. Curio has cast two women in the leading roles. This show will be performed in Curio's home space in the sanctuary at 4740 Baltimore Avenue. Tickets cost $15-25 and are available online at www.curiotheatre.org.

This season the company set out to explore gender roles. According to Curio Theatre Company Artistic Director Paul Kuhn, "Audiences kept asking why we don't do more plays with women and why don't we explore gender. Our audiences spoke and we listened. We truly believe this season will have something for everyone."

In this production, Romeo and Juliet are the adolescent daughters of two warring families. The young women fall desperately in love and set off a heartbreaking chain of events. The same-sex casting proves the universality of Shakespeare's immortal tragedy of pure, teenage love.

Krista Apple-Hodge is making her Curio debut as the director of this piece. She admits that there would have been an assumption that Romeo would be cast as a woman in drag. It would be a reverse of what happened during Shakespeare's time. However, she was asked to tackle the project within a week of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA and felt within an instant the post DOMA world looked very different.

"The world that Shakespeare presents for us in Romeo and Juliet is a world where authority is long-standing and far-reaching. It's a world where the Church is at the forefront of everyday life. It's a world where, for some reason, these two young people falling in love is an incredibly dangerous thing. It's a secret that, ultimately, they decide is worth dying for," said Apple-Hodge. "For two women to be falling in love, in the middle of a world like that, suddenly makes the play dangerous again for me. We all know what happens in the story, and we all know how. We don't often question the why: why do these two families hate each other desperately enough that their two very intelligent children, and their mentors, decide that hiding their love is a better idea than telling their parents?"

In this version, Verona will look and feel like the modern world. Curio Theatre Company is planning on using as much of their space in the sanctuary to play on as they can - this will include the pipe organ. It will also mean that the audience will appear to be guests in the banquet scenes.

"This production is a story for us, a story for today. It's a story about love and family, values, and dealing with (or avoiding) authority," added Apple-Hodge. "It's a story about friendship and allegiance. It's a story that, over and over again, challenges us to admit what we love, what we value, and the things we think are worth fighting for."

The cast includes Curio's resident company. Isa St. Clair is playing Juliet and Rachel Gluck is playing Romeo. Aetna Gallagher is portraying Lady Capulet. Colleen Hughes is playing Tybalt, Nurse, and Second Watchman. Steve Carpenter is playing Benvolio, Friar John, and First Watchman. Josh Hitchens is playing Friar Laurence, Sampson, and two other roles. Eric Scotolati is playing Mercutio and two other roles. Ken Opdenaker is playing Lord Montague, Peter, and the Apothecary. Harry Slack is portraying the Prince and Paris.

Paul Kuhn, the Artistic Director of Curio Theatre Company, is designing the set. Tim Martin is the Lighting Designer. Patrick Lamborn, the newest Curio Theatre Company member, is creating the sound. Aetna Gallagher, Curio's resident Costume Designer, is designing the costumes. Beth Johnson is the Stage Manager.


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