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SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ROMEO & JULIET DIRECTED BY ALAN PAUL AND STARRING ANDREW VEENSTRA AND AYANA WORKMAN
Washington, D.C. — Continuing its 2016–2017 Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) presents Romeo & Juliet, directed by STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul, and featuring STC Affiliated Artist Andrew Veenstra as Romeo and Ayana Workman as Juliet. Romeo & Juliet runs at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th St NW), September 13–November 6.
In 1986, STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn opened the newly-established Shakespeare Theatre Company with his production of Romeo & Juliet. It played to sold-out houses and earned Kahn a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Director, Resident Production. Three decades later, after nine years at STC, Alan Paul prepares to direct his first Shakespeare production for the Company to launch its 30th Season.
Michael Kahn said: “I’m pleased that a director of Alan’s talent, intelligence and care is going to present Romeo & Juliet for this generation. This play continues to speak to all of us in new ways because how we think about the issues and relationships changes depending on the decade. We see this play through the eyes of the world we live in.”
In Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare presents a world about to combust, saturated with passionate love and powerful hate. Caught tragically between two feuding families, alike in dignity and in enmity, Shakespeare’s immortal young lovers try to fashion a new world amid the violence of the old, but cataclysmic choices and tragic twists propel them toward a final confrontation with fate. Alan Paul wants audiences of all ages to connect with the characters’ struggles and desires. Staging the play in a bold, contemporary setting that radiates wealth, violence, love and youth, audiences will view the themes of the play through a modern lens and encounter an onstage world with many parallels to our own.
“I want the audience to walk in the theatre and see people that look and dress like them on the stage. I want teenagers to see their experiences and emotions reflected in a really powerful way. I think it’s a very specific family, and sometimes the real dynamic and drama of that family is lost when they are in a period setting. Certain behaviors can seem inevitable when you’re in period costume, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to set the play in modern dress. If you look at the dysfunction of the Capulet family in modern day then it becomes a family dynamic that people will really understand,” Paul explained.
Romeo & Juliet’s bold, modern set features work from designers with an impressive portfolio of national, regional and international work. Scenic Designer Dane Laffrey, whose credits include the acclaimed Deaf West revival of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Spring Awakening and the Broadway premiere of Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love, will work with STC for the first time. Costume Designer Kaye Voyce returns to STC after working with the Company on The Merry Wives of Windsor and Twelfth Night. Lighting Designer Jen Schriever’s Broadway credits include John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown and off-Broadway credits include Mala Hierba and American Hero. Choreographer Eric Sean Fogel’s work has been featured on television, and in theatre and opera houses around the world, and Fight Choreographer David Leong returns regularly to STC and worked on the Company’s first production of Romeo & Juliet in 1986.