NC Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, With Sheldon Best, Lauren Sowa, Darrie Lawrence, Forrest McClendon, Begins Sept. 9
By Michael Gioia
The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival presents William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, as part of the company's 35th mainstage season, beginning Sept. 9 with a public final dress rehearsal, prior to an official opening Sept. 21, at the High Point Theatre.
Directed by Steve Umberger, the production, which continues through Sept. 30, uses Shakespeare's original text in a contemporary setting and features a multi-ethnic cast of 20.
"Romeo and Juliet is far more current than you might expect from a play written more than 400 years ago," Umberger said in a statement. "In this era of clashing cultures, both at home and abroad, what could be more timely than 'two households, both alike in dignity' who cannot lay down their differences until they have erupted in deadly and irreparable consequences?"
The cast features Sheldon Best ("Person of Interest") and Lauren Sowa (We're Drunk/This is the End at London's Old Vic) in the respective title roles with Tony Award nominee Forrest McClendon (The Scottsboro Boys) as Friar Lawrence, Darrie Lawrence (Doubt national tour) as The Nurse, Graham Smith (NCShakes' King Lear) as Capulet, Gayton Scott (Gypsy with Bernadette Peters, Triad Stage's New Music) as Lady Capulet, Dan Bound-Black as Benvolio, Courtney M. McClellan as Lady Montague, Andre Minkins as Montague, Jim French as Tybalt, Kenneth De Abrew as Escalus/Friar John, Christopher Ryan as Paris and J. Hernandez as Mercutio.
Rounding out the cast are NCShakes/UNC Greensboro Acting Internship Program members Cameron Prevatte as Gregory, Cameron Bass as Petruchio, Patrick Ball as Samson, Adam Kampouris as Abram, Benjamin David Apple as Balthasar, Phillip Marcus Wright as Peter and Kendra Woodfolk as Woman.
Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Mark Pirolo, fight choreographer Dale Girard, dramaturg Jim Casey, vocal and text coach Leah Elyce Roy, production stage manager Audrey M. Brown, costume designer Bob Croghan, sound designer Fred Story and lighting designer Eric Winkenwerder.
Additionally, NCShakes offers buy one/get one free tickets for educators at any level through college; Shakespeare Slams at area coffee shops; Classics in Context talks with North Carolina scholars; and the Weekend Getaway package for the final weekend of the production (Sept. 28-30). For more information, call (336) 841-2273 or visit NCShakes.org.
The High Point Theatre is located at 220 East Commerce Avenue in High Point, NC. For tickets, call (336) 877-3001 or visit HighPointTheatre.com.
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