The Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet, which invests Shakespeare's drama with a new dynamic, began performances Aug. 24 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The production features Orlando Bloom ("The Lord of the Rings") and Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad (Stick Fly, The Trip to Bountiful) as an interracial pair of young lovers doomed by intolerance.
Helmed by David Leveaux, Romeo and Juliet will officially open Sept. 19. Leveaux has staged Arcadia, Cyrano de Bergerac, Nine, The Glass Menagerie and Jumpers on Broadway, among others.
In addition to Bloom as Romeo and Rashad as Juliet, the cast also features Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Follies, Dead Accounts) as the Nurse, Tony Award winner Brent Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade) as Friar Laurence, Tony winner Chuck Cooper (The Life; Caroline, or Change) as Lord Capulet, Christian Camargo ("The Hurt Locker," "Twilight," All My Sons) as Mercutio, Justin Guarini (Women on the Verge, "American Idol") as Paris, Roslyn Ruff ( The Piano Lesson, "The Help") as Lady Capulet, Conrad Kemp ("The Girl") as Benvolio, Corey Hawkins as Tybalt and Geoffrey Owens as Prince Escalus. Completing the company are Donte Bonner, Joe Carroll, Don Guillory, Sheria Irving, Maurice Jones, Eric Loscheider, Spencer Plachy, Michael Rudko, Tracy Sallows, Thomas Schall, Carolyn Michelle Smith and Nance Williamson.
The creative team includes scenic designer Jesse Poleshuck, costume designer Fabio Toblini, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer David Van Tieghem and hair designer David Brian Brown.
This production marks the first time in 36 years that the play has been produced for Broadway. This version of the classic tale, according to press notes, "will retain Shakespeare’s original language but have a modern setting in which members of the Montague family will be white, and the Capulet family will be black."
According to producers, "In this new production, the members of the Montague household will be white, and the blood relatives of the Capulet family will be black. While race defines the family lineages, the original cause of the ‘ancient quarrel’, passed down by successive generations to their young, has been lost to time. Shakespeare’s dramatization of the original poem sets the two young lovers in a context of prejudice, authoritarian parents, and a never ending cycle of ‘revenge.’ Against this background, the strength of their love changes the world."
Producers have also announced that 100 tickets per performance will be set aside at $20 for purchase by students and educators.
For tickets visit Ticketmaster.com. The Richard Rodgers Theatre is located at 226 W 46th Street.