January 21, 2010
Arden Theatre Company presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
from February 25 - April 11, under the direction of Matt Pfeiffer and featuring a diverse ensemble cast of Philadelphia favorites. This story of love, violence and the consequences of both brings one of the English language’s greatest stories to life on the Arden’s F. Otto Haas stage and is sponsored by Fox Chase Bank.
While the story of Romeo and Juliet
has been in human consciousness for centuries, the Arden’s production challenges preconceptions of the play, stripping the story down to focus on characters and language. When Shakespeare’s company first presented Romeo and Juliet
, they made use of the resources, knowledge and clothing of the time. The Arden’s production will bring a similar sense of familiarity and immediacy to the play, pairing modern fashions and contemporary compositions with handheld weapons and a simple stage reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Globe.
”The families in Romeo and Juliet
deal with two extreme emotions – love and hate. In their world, violence ultimately comes at a cost. A play that holds hate to its consequence is always compelling,” says director Matt Pfeiffer. In addition to past work at the Arden on Wittenberg
and Go, Dog. Go!
, Pfeiffer has seen much success directing in the Philadelphia area. Notably, he has worked at Theatre Exile on Glengarry Glen Ross
(David Mamet) and Bug
(Tracy Letts). Pfeiffer’s skill in forging muscular, combustible performances will fuel this cast of acclaimed and familiar Philadelphia actors.
In the title role of Romeo, Evan Jonigkeit returns to the Arden after appearing in The History Boys
. Jonigkeit previously played Romeo in Mauckingbird Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s R&J
. The production’s Juliet also recently tackled her role at Virginia Stage Company. Mahira Kakkar makes her Arden debut as Juliet, though she has previously worked with the Arden’s Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen in Opus
at Primary Stages in New York City. Also making their Arden debuts in this production are Temple graduate Matt Lorenz as Paris and current Temple undergrad Sean Lally as Tybalt.
Ten actors in the Romeo and Juliet
cast have previously worked at the Arden, including Scott Greer as Lord Capulet (Something Intangible, Candide, Assassins
and the upcoming Sunday in the Park with George
), Frank X as Lord Montague (The History Boys
and Peter Pan
, both this season), Anthony Lawton as Friar Laurence (The Seafarer, A Prayer for Owen Meany
) and Brian Anthony Wilson as the Prince (Our Town, The Piano Lesson
). Also returning to the Arden are Melanye Finister as Lady Capulet (A Midsummer Night’s Dream
), Krista Apple as Lady Montague (Our Town
), Suzanne O’Donnell as the Nurse (Dancing at Lughnasa, Hamlet
), James William Ijames as Benvolio (James and the Giant Peach
), and Shawn Fagan as Mercutio (Wittenberg
The design team includes set designer Brian Sidney Bembridge (Go, Dog. Go!
), costume designer Rosemarie E. McKelvey (Barrymore award winner for Something Intangible
), lighting designer Thom Weaver (Blue Door, My Name Is Asher Lev
), and original composition and sound design by James Sugg (My Name Is Asher Lev
, four Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Sound Design). The production team also includes fight director Dale Girard, who recently staged fights for Two River Theatre Company’s Macbeth
, directed by Arden co-founder Aaron Posner.
The final dress rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet
on Wednesday, February 24 at 8pm is open to the public as a Pay-What-You-Can performance, with all proceeds collected donated to Outward Bound, an organization which strengthens and empowers communities to effect positive change. All seats are general admission, first come, first served for this performance.
Romeo and Juliet
previews begin on Thursday, February 25. Preview performances run February 25, 26, 27, 28 and March 2. Opening night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 3.
Romeo and Juliet
has already been extended through April 11. The performance schedule includes numerous student matinees, which are sold to capacity.
Single ticket prices are $29- $48, with discounts available for seniors, students, military and educators. Groups of 10+ enjoy significant discounts; please inquire about group rates.
The Arden is wheelchair accessible and provides assisted listening devices and large-print programs at every performance. In addition, audio described and open captioned performances are scheduled for Saturday, March 27 at 8pm and Sunday, March 28 at 2pm. Reservations are required for accessible seating and programming and may be made by calling the Arden’s Box Office at 215.922.1122.
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Matt Pfeiffer
Rediscover the world's most enduring story: a tale of pure passion between the children of sworn enemies. On a simple stage, our visceral production celebrates the language and indelible characters of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
Recommended for 8th grade and older
Arden Theatre Company
F. Otto Haas Stage
40 N. 2nd Street, Old City Philadelphia 19106
February 25 – April 11, 2010
Preview performances: February 25 – March 2, 2010
Opening night: 7pm Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Reviewing members of the press are invited to attend opening night and may reserve tickets by contacting Leigh Goldenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
All weekday morning matinees are already sold out!
$29-$48 for adults depending on the performance chosen
Group discounts available for 10+
Student Rush tickets at the door only five minutes before curtain for $5 cash, pending availability (must present valid student ID)
Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122 or visit www.ardentheatre.org
Krista Apple (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Lady Montague/Balthasar
Shawn Fagan (resident of New York, NY) as Mercutio/Friar John
Melanye Finister (resident of Malvern, PA) as Lady Capulet
Scott Greer (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Lord Capulet
James William Ijames (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Benvolio
Evan Jonigkeit (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Romeo
Mahira Kakkar (resident of Elmhurst, NY) as Juliet
Sean Lally (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Tybalt/Apothecary
Anthony Lawton (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Friar Laurence
Matt Lorenz (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Paris
Suzanne O'Donnell (resident of Orlando, FL) as Nurse
Brian Anthony Wilson (resident of Cherry Hill, NJ) as Prince
Frank X (resident of Philadelphia, PA) as Lord Montague/Peter
Matt Pfeiffer - Director
Brian Sidney Bembridge - Designer
Rosemarie E. McKelvey - Costume Designer
Thom Weaver - Lighting Designer
James Sugg - Sound Designer
Dale Anthony Girard - Fight Director
Karen Getz - Choreographer
J. Alex Cordaro - Assistant Fight Director
Dan Hodge - Assistant Director
Katharine M. Hanley - Stage Manager
Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 N. 2nd Street in the heart of historic Old City, Philadelphia