Dean Richards Staff Writer
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will return to Broadway for the first time in almost 40 years, in a play directed by David Leveaux. In an interview, he spoke about the slightly altered storyline, namely that the two star-crossed lovers aren’t separated by family status, but by ethnicity.
Leveaux also revealed the first few castings. The role of Romeo will be taken up by Orlando Bloom, the actor probably most famous for his performance as Legolas in ‘Lord of the Rings’, while his lover will be played by Condola Rashad, who was nominated for a Tony Award last year for her performance in Stick Fly.
"The last thing we wanted to do was to do a sort of pompous, classic version of ‘Romeo and Juliet," Leveaux said in the interview, explaining why he added the issue of ethnicity to the story. However, "they could have been any number of ethnicities," he explained. "The two actors I wanted just happened to be those two, and I followed my nose in casting the families."
Although issues like the one Romeo and Juliet experienced are fortunately getting more and more rare, Laveaux believes that it is still an issue of this time, saying that he realises that “there are families from one background who would reject their children getting together with someone from another group.
Aside from the two lead roles, Laveaux also announced the casting of Joe Morton as Lord Capulet and Jayne Houdyshell as the nurse. More news on the cast will follow later.
The play is expected to begin previews on the 24th of August, with the actual opening on the 19th of September.
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