July 7, 2014: Hip-hop music from the nearby baseball diamond wafts into Verona. A stray tabby and a cloud of fireflies crowd its lanes. At Romeo N Juliet, a free performance staged in an amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park by the Classical Theater of Harlem, the distractions of an uptown summer evening compete with a centuries-old tragedy. At first, it seems as if the director, Justin Emeka, were going to integrate the vitality of the surrounding streets into Shakespeare’s poetry. The show opens with a rejiggered prologue, which announces: “Two families that are one and the same/Had a major beef going with their family names/It was in fair Verona where we’re setting the scene.” This Verona, it turns out, is a place of hoodies, high tops and soca music. Mr. Emeka’s update isn’t nearly as precisely envisioned as Baz Luhrmann’s film version, but it’s a good deal more lively and specific, at least initially, than the Orlando Bloom star vehicle that played on Broadway last season. Its early scenes have a keen energy, combining the verse with dance and promising a resonant interpretation. And why not? It’s not as if a tragedy lamenting gang violence and cheering teenage lust lacked relevance.READ THE REVIEW
Romeo N Juliet OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
- Opening Night:
- July 5, 2014
- July 27, 2014
Theater: Richard Rodgers Amphitheater / 123rd Street at Mt. Morris Park West, between Fifth Ave and Malcolm X BlvdSynopsis:BUY TICKETS BUY GROUP TICKETS
This intense and fiery CTH production of Shakespeare’s classic reveals the unpredictable passion of love, barely separated from the unforgiving tragedy of violence. The stage explodes with soulful rhythms, verse, and movement, as Hip-Hop beats provide the backdrop for a community suffering from internal conflict. In its second annual summer offering at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park, CTH again brings together a dynamic cast and creative team of familiar faces from last season’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream along with some talented new additions.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Romeo N Juliet