Christian Camargo will play 'Mercutio,' Roslyn Ruff will play 'Lady Capulet' and Justin Guarini will play 'Paris.' Making their Broadway debuts are Conrad Kemp as 'Benvolio,' Corey Hawkins as 'Tybalt,' and Geoffrey Owens as 'Prince Escalus.'
Romeo and Juliet, directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux, will star Orlando Bloom, in his Broadway debut, alongside Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad (Stick Fly), as Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.
As previously announced the cast also includes Tony Award-winning actor Brent Carver as 'Friar Laurence,' Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper as 'Lord Capulet' and two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Follies, Well) as 'Nurse.'
Further casting and additional creative team members will be announced at a later date.
This production will mark the first time in 36 years that Romeo and Juliet will be produced for Broadway. This version of the classic tale will retain Shakespeare’s original language but have a modern setting in which members of the contentious Montague and Capulet families will be of differing ethnicities.
One of Shakespeare’s best known plays, Romeo and Julietbelongs to a tradition of tragic-romances dating back over 500 years. The famous youthful lovers first appeared in Italian novella in the 1500’s and gained popularity in England after being adapted and translated into English by Arthur Brooke in 1562.
As described in Brooke’s poem, “The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet” - on which Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is based - while the Montagues and Capulets are from different “races” or “stocks” their deadly feud is not based on their race, but rather on the “grudging envy” of men of “equal state.”
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.
The last time Romeo and Juliet was produced on Broadway was the 1977 Circle in the Square production featuring Paul Ryan Rudd and Pamela Payton-Wright. Other notable New York productions include: the Public Theater’s 2012 gala staged-reading at the Delacorte Theater starring Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep; the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2011 production at the Park Avenue Armory starring Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale; the Public Theater’s 2007 Shakespeare in the Park production starring Oscar Isaac and Lauren Ambrose; the 1986 Shakespeare on Broadway for the Schools repertory production starring Geoffrey Owens and Regina Taylor; The Old Vic Company’s 1956 production at the Winter Garden Theater starring John Neville and Claire Bloom; as well as the 1940 Broadway production starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
Christian Camargo last appeared on Broadway in the 2008 production of Arthur Miller's 'All My Sons' and was recently seen on screen in the Oscar-winning Best Picture 'The Hurt Locker.'
Roslyn Ruff was recently nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for her role as 'Berniece' in 'The Piano Lesson,' on Broadway she was the understudy for the role of 'Rose' in 'Fences,' her film credits include 'The Help.'
Justin Guarini has appeared on Broadway in 'American Idiot' and 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.'