Orlando Bloom and Tony nominee Condola Rashad will star in a Broadway production of “Romeo and Juliet” that transports Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers to modern times with race as a central theme.
David Leveaux will direct the production, featuring Jayne Houdyshell (“Follies”) as the nurse and Joe Morton (the musical “Raisin”) as Lord Capulet, with additional casting to be announced. Leveaux recently directed "Backbeat" at the Ahmanson Theatre, a musical about the Beatles' formative period playing in German nightclubs.
The script will retain the Bard’s original language, with the feuding Capulets and Montagues recast as differing ethnicities.
“Shakespeare did not only write of his world – he imagined ours,” said Leveaux. “The very improbability that two young people might, through their imaginations and their courage, change the world by overcoming the cynical tyranny of division handed down to them by their elders, is the best and happily most improbable reason I can imagine to bring this story to the Broadway stage today."
The show will open Sept. 19 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, following preview performances slated to start Aug. 24. The most recent full Broadway revival of the classic was in 1977 (Paul Rudd was Romeo).
The role will mark Bloom's Broadway debut. The 36-year-old actor recently got a taste of playing the doomed young lover: In 2011, Bloom performed a selection of Romeo’s soliloquies in a Los Angeles Philharmonic concert that paired the Bard’s monologues with of Tchaikovsky's Shakespeare-inspired music.
L.A. audiences have seen Rashad as Sophie in the 2010 Geffen Playhouse production of Lynn Nottage's "Ruined." More recently, she played the ingénue role of Shelby in Lifetime television's 2012 remake of "Steel Magnolias."
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