With the opening of an English language version of Romeo and Juliet on Monday, Nov. 4, the world's favorite love story will be back on stage.
One of Shakespeare's greatest works, Romeo and Juliet has the most famous balcony scene in all theatre (with Noël Coward's Private Lives behind in second place), beautiful young lovers in a central role and the timeless themes of thwarted love and inter-generational clashes, along with gang rivalry, swordfights, sunshine and some of the most sublime love lines ever written.
Not surprisingly, the lead roles have been played by many of the world's greatest actors, while that of Juliet's Nurse is a gift to the older actress wanting a juicy character part.
Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky have turned it into a ballet, while Bernstein and Sondheim made it a musical — relocated and updated to 1950's New York and given the name West Side Story.
Franco Zeffirelli in the 1960's and Baz Luhrmann in the 1990's turned the story into a film, while the hugely popular "Shakespeare in Love" is centered on a parallel love story surrounding the writing of Romeo and Juliet.
Now a French musical version (with English lyrics by Don Black) is to open, at the Piccadilly Theatre, on Monday, Nov. 4. Already an established hit in Paris, where teenybopper fans have made it the place for the young to be seen, in a way more readily associated with rock concerts or raves than musical theatre, it is the latest in a line of French musicals to cross the English Channel.
The talented young cast is headed by Lorna Want and Andrew Bevis.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow