The Guthrie Theater and The Acting Company (TAC) today announced complete casting for their 2010 co-production and national tour of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Building on the success of their critically acclaimed 2009 production of Henry V, these two nationally recognized theater institutions will again showcase the talents of young performers from their ranks, including graduates of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program, participants of the Guthrie Experience (GEx), and alumni of The Acting Company.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Penny Metropulos will direct Shakespeare's iconic romantic tragedy, with Sonny Valicenti (2009's Henry V) and 2008 GEx alumnus Laura Esposito leading the 13-member cast in the title roles. The production will also feature UofM/Guthrie B.F.A. alumni Hugh Kennedy (Benvolio), Elizabeth Stahlmann (Nurse/Samson), William Sturdivant (Mercutio/Prince) and Christine Weber (Lady Capulet), Guthrie Experience alumni Jamie Smithson (Paris/Abraham) and Isaac Woofter (Tybalt/Apothecary), Henry V company member Chris Thorn (Capulet), and newcomers Jesse Bonnell (Gregory/Friar John), Raymond L. Chapman (Friar Laurence), Jason McDowell Green (Montague/Peter) and Myxolydia Tyler (Lady Montague/Balthasar). Following a three-week run on the Guthrie's McGuire Proscenium Stage, Romeo and Juliet will embark on a 25-city national tour through 18 states, with education programs for students in underserved communities on the tour being underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts' Shakespeare in American Communities through Arts Midwest.
Perhaps one of Shakespeare's most widely-known works, Romeo and Juliet recounts the tragedy of star-crossed teenage love ensnared in a family feud. Bounding between soaring romanticism and battles of wit, festive celebrations and bloody duels to the death, the play of cruel destiny runs on high energy throughout, as impulsive and emotionally hot-blooded characters bring to life the greatest love story of all time. Evoking the lyricism of Shakespeare's sonnets, the timeless and deeply moving Romeo and Juliet exquisitely embodies the brief joy of youthful passion and ecstasy. The young couple loves each other passionately as only teenagers can, while their families' mutual disdain and prejudice lead to revenge and an irreversible fate. Young love has never been so delightful or as dangerous as in this stirring new production.
"The Guthrie has proven to be the perfect ‘incubator' for our national tour," said Acting Company Producing Director Margot Harley. "It is a breathtaking theatrical complex replete with staff, artisans and workshops to bring the most brilliant work to life. Our co-production of Henry V was thrilling to be part of and I know this season's Romeo and Juliet will be equally rewarding to audiences as well as for The Acting Company and the Guthrie."
"We're truly excited to embark on the second production of our partnership with The Acting Company," said Guthrie Director Joe Dowling. "After the success of last year's production and tour of Henry V, we look forward to continued success this season with Romeo and Juliet."
The Romeo and Juliet artistic team also includes Neil Patel (Set Designer), Mathew J. LeFebvre (Costume Designer), Michael Chybowski (Lighting Designer), Victor Zupanc (Music Composition), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Marcela Lorca (Choreography), Felix Ivanov (Fight Direction), Andrew Wade (Voice and Speech Consultant), Sara Phillips (Voice and Speech Consultant), Corey Atkins (Staff Director), Karen Parlato (Stage Manager) and Nick Tochelli (Assistant Stage Manager).
The Acting Company was founded in 1972 by Margot Harley and legendary producer and actor John Houseman with Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone and others in the first graduating class of Juilliard's Drama Division. Since then it has performed 131 plays to audiences in 48 states and 10 foreign countries. In addition to Kline and LuPone, its alumni include Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright, Harriet Harris, Jesse L. Martin, David Ogden Stiers, Richard Ooms, Richard Iglewski, Keith David and Rainn Wilson. The Acting Company was honored in 2003 with a Tony Award for Excellence in Theater.
About the Guthrie
The Guthrie Theater, founded in 1963, is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Guthrie is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Led by Director Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie opened its new three-theater home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in June 2006.
The Guthrie is located at 818 South 2nd Street (at Chicago Avenue), in downtown Minneapolis. To purchase tickets or season subscriptions call the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224 or toll-free 877.44.STAGE. For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.guthrietheater.org.
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