R & J, Expanded Arts' all-male rendition of Shakespeare's classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, marks its 100th performance on April 25 -- two days after the Bard's birthday, as it happens. As such, R & J now stands as the second-longest running production of the romantic tragedy ever in New York City.
R & J, adapted and directed by Joe Calarco, tells its familiar story through the musing of four students from a repressive boys school who decide to stage the production for their own enjoyment. The production began life at Expanded Arts' Off-Off-Broadway home earlier this season, before transferring to the John Houseman Studio Theatre on 450 W. 42nd St. The show recently won the 1998 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Achievement.
For the record, the longest-running production of Romeo and Juliet to grace New York City opened at Henry Miller's Theatre on Jan. 24, 1923, and ran for 161 performances. Jane Cowl starred as Juliet; her Romeo was Rollo Peters (who also designed the scenery). The production was, in fact, the second mounting of the classic of the 1922-23 season, following a less successful go-around starring Ethel Barrymore, with settings by Robert Edmond Jones.
For ticket information for R & J, call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson