The Allegheny Playshop Theatre, now celebrating its 88th season, is performing “Romeo and Juliet” November 16-19. Performances are at 8 p.m. Nov. 16-18 and at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre.
William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a centuries-old tragic tale of star-crossed lovers, feuding families, and “violent ends,” taking place in Verona, Italy. The play captures the passions of teenagers experiencing independence, love, and familial duty during an important phase of their lives. Beth Watkins is directing the play, with stage-manager Rachel Ellis, Betsy Sumerfield choreographing the dance and stage combat scenes, and Jim Bulman serving as dramaturg for the production.
“We are conceiving the production as a rehearsal of ‘Romeo and Juliet’,” said Watkins, “where the audience will see actors warming up and preparing to rehearse. They will be wearing rehearsal clothes, adding hats, skirts, collars, and various costume pieces throughout our Act I. As the play progresses, wooden rehearsal swords will become steel, lighting will move from rehearsal light to full stage light, and scenery and props will become more ‘of the world of the play.’ By our Act II, we will be fully located in Verona, Italy in the late 15th century.”
The play will feature Thomas Cassidy ‘21 as Romeo and Emily Wilson ‘19 as Juliet. Also in the cast are Chloe Spadafora, Cayla Brandon, Kaleel Van Vorhees, Mark Shimkets, Alyssa Johnson, Nia Shuler, Maximus Levinsky, Draigh Ricketson, Noah Stape, Dominic Bell, and Kai van Rosendaal.
Though the play has been performed across the world thousands of times, it has maintained its fame over the years for a reason.
“I am so excited to be a part of this show,” Wilson said. “It’s one of those stories that has been written off as somewhat cliche, but it’s such an iconic play and is definitely still worth seeing and performing. You get to become part of a community and a history of people all connecting to the same text, one that is able to span the centuries and bring people from all backgrounds and walks of life together.”
The Playshop Theatre has also invited the Meadville Area High School ninth grade to attend a special morning matinee, to align with their freshman year curriculum studies of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for non-Allegheny students, senior citizens, and Allegheny employees. Admission is free for Allegheny students with identification, but they are asked to make reservations.
For more information or to order tickets, contact the Playshop Theatre box office at (814) 332-3414.