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Central Cast Changes in Joffrey Ballet’s ‘Romeo’

For versatility in casting, what company can compare with the hard-working Joffrey Ballet? One night, you’re Tybalt; the next, Romeo. Today, Benvolio; tomorrow, Mercutio. Rosalind in the afternoon; Juliet at night.

In mix-and-match casting in two performances of John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet” Saturday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, a number of dancers showed this versatility by alternating in various roles--all but Deborah Dawn (as Juliet) dancing them for the first time in Los Angeles.

Tom Mossbrucker (a substitute Paris on Friday) ventured a boyish, idealistic, ethereal Romeo on Saturday afternoon. His virtues: lightness of carriage, clear technique and strong partnering. But his character did not appear to mature through the experience.

Tina LeBlanc, his Juliet, introduced explosive vivacity and commitment and danced with speed, ease and amplitude of movement and yielding backbends.

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Tyler Walters (Tybalt in the afternoon) provided the sketchy outlines of a poetic and ardent Romeo on Saturday evening.

His Juliet, Deborah Dawn (Rosalind in the afternoon), created a detailed, intelligent and refined characterization and danced with both lyricism and abandon.

In other evening performances: Peter Narbutas (Lord Montague at the matinee) introduced an extra edge of nasty menace and magnetism as Tybalt. Carl Corry (Benvolio in the afternoon) played down antic impishness and stressed stalwart loyalty as Mercutio. Glen Harris made a florid, slightly manic Benvolio. Julie Janus, as Lady Capulet, settled for a nonstop grimace in expressing grief over the slain Tybalt’s body.

Douglas Martin (Friday’s Romeo) ventured a noble and considerate Paris at both performances.

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Allan Lewis conducted at the matinee; John Minor offered slightly slower tempos and decidedly slacker tension in the evening.


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