The Shakespeare play is directed by the company's artistic director, Alexa Kelly. Last summer's Pulse production of A Midsummer Night's Dream attracted over 5,000 people. Set in New York City today, the 90-minute Romeo and Juliet staging "reflects the urban environment in which it will be seen while emphasizing Shakespeare's universal appeal." In addition to the professional actors, the company also includes young members of the Harlem community ranging in age from 9 to 22. Kelly states, "We are bringing professional theatre to the community and bringing the community into our production."
The cast features John Williams (Romeo), Li Jun Li (Juliet), Bill Galarno (Friar), Gwendolyn Schwinke (Nurse) and Uzo Aduba (Mercutio).
Choreography is by Niles Ford, fight sequences by Mark Silence, lighting by Eric Larsen, costumes by Kathryn Rohe, set design by Elizabeth Mae Bach and sound by Louis Lopardi.
Alexa Kelly has directed at the Alliance Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Attic Theatre and Academy Theatre in addition to directing 39 productions for the Pulse Ensemble Theatre, which she founded in 1989 to present "socially significant theatre."
Performances continue to Aug. 27 at Riverbank State Park, The park is at Riverside Drive and 138th Street. Show times are Thursdays through Sundays at 8 PM on a multi-level set on the Squash Courts overlooking the Hudson River.
For additional information about Pulse Ensemble Theatre call (212) 695-1596 or visit www.pulseensembletheatre.org.