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Romeo and Juliet

a Tragedy
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 2564

SHOWING : February 08, 2008 - March 09, 2008

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

After nine sold-out runs in a row, we are pleased to continue this Atlanta tradition by bringing you this timeless story of star-crossed young lovers.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Drew Reeves
Lady Capulet Jane Bass
Lord Montague/Capulet Servant/Peter Tony Brown
Juliet Veronika Duerr
Gregory/Mercutio/Appothecarie/2nd watch Nicholas Faircloth
Prince/Friar John Andrew Houchins
Romeo J.C. Long
Montague Servant/Paris Mike Niedzwiecki
Tybalt/3rd watch Matt Nitchie
Sampson/Capulet's 1st servingman Derek Randall
Tybalt's Man/Balthasar Derek Randall
Abram/Clown/Potpan/Paris's page Mark W. Schroeder
Benvolio/1st watch Kirk Harris Seaman
Nurse Kathy Simmons
Lord Capulet Dikran Tulaine
Friar Lawrence Troy Willis
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Shakespeare Tavern's Romeo & Juliet
by Occasional Theater Patron
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
4.0
My 14-year old daughter's class is currently reading Romeo & Juliet in school. She and I made our way to the Shakespeare Tavern last Sunday evening so she could how the play is really performed, and to give it life outside dry school readings.

Lady Mac's earlier review of 4.0 is about right. Shakespeare frankly can be difficult to sit through, but Shakespeare Tavern has a great set and the acting was very good.

I thought the most interesting actors were not the main characters, but Mike Niedzwiecki as Tybalt, Troy Willis as Capulet, Jane Bass as the Nurse (was great), Doug Kaye as Friar Lawrence, Matt Felten as Paris, and Daniel Parvis as Friar John. I agree with Lady Mac that Mary Russell as Juliet was a little older for the part than Shakespeare intended, but who is going to find an early to mid-teen to perform Juliet on a professional level?

Shakespeare Tavern makes Romeo & Juliet about as enjoyable as it can be. As always the British tavern food at Shakespeare Tavern was great and the ale was even better.
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A very pleasant surprise
by Lady Mac
Monday, February 8, 2010
4.0
It’s February, and that means that the Shakespeare Tavern will be performing “Romeo and Juliet” to sold-out houses of romance fiends and schoolchildren who have read just one Shakespeare play so far (this one – seemingly the universal “starter Shakespeare”). Unfortunately, the play is one of my least favorites by the Bard, but I give it a try once every run to see what’s new in the cast, direction, etc. Usually, the result is the same: I survive another round of the overdone classic and eagerly await what March has to bring.

To my utter shock, this year’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” was more than just endured; it was enjoyed.

Perhaps the biggest contributor to the surprising likeability of this year’s rendition is Lee Osorio, who plays Romeo. Not to take anything away from some of the Romeos past, but Osorio brings a sweetness and vulnerability to Romeo that make him much more sympathetic. Not once, for example, did I just want to slap him (Romeo, that is, not the actor) and tell him to knock it off. While his performance hits a few snags here and there (which likely will even out as the run continues), Osorio makes the audience care about Romeo and remember that, after all, he is still very much a boy. He comes across as a young man who could be your son, brother or nephew, and he even achieves the near-impossible by instilling a bit of believable sincerity into the fickle character’s sudden shift from adoring Rosaline to loving Juliet.

Oddly, Juliet seems to be more mature than Romeo, and she’s the one who is supposed to be in her very early teens. This was a little strange, particularly in parts of the play that emphasize Juliet’s naivete, but it can be overlooked. Though Mary Russell as Juliet could be a little more childlike, she does a fine job overall and is a good match for Osorio. The two of them click and bring chemistry and tenderness to their scenes together.

Two somewhat minor roles that nevertheless can destroy a “Romeo and Juliet” production when they are done badly – as is often the case – are Paris and Tybalt. Thankfully, both roles are in excellent hands in the Shakespeare Tavern’s production. Paris is skillfully portrayed by Matt Felten as a decent, well-meaning guy in the wrong place at the wrong time – Shakespeare’s ultimate collateral damage. (Some past productions have portrayed Paris as bumbling, comical or, worst of all, smarmy.) Tybalt is presented as relatively subdued but always quietly dangerous by Mike Niedzwiecki, who continues to blossom as the Tavern gives him opportunities. His Tybalt steers clear of the too-easy cartoonish bad guy that has appeared in some other productions, and his physical presence makes him further imposing. (One small quibble: Perhaps when he is slain after an arduous swordfight, he should fall in a way that makes his breathing a little less obvious when he is “dead.”) Though the play affords him no chance to show Tybalt’s “good side” (alluded to by Juliet and the nurse, who calls him her best friend), Niedzwiecki somehow makes a good side to Tybalt seem possible.

Other performances that deserve particular praise are those of Daniel Parvis, who steals yet another show with his slightly insane portrayal of Mercutio (transitioning from comical to insightful to heartbreaking without missing a beat), and Troy Willis, who does an exceptional job as Capulet, even managing to make the audience kind of see his point of view in the disowning-Juliet scene, which is a tall order.

There are a few less-impressive performances, but, thankfully, they occur in not-too-pivotal roles and don’t detract from the overriding strength of the cast.

Finally, a giant thank-you is in order to the Shakespeare Tavern for again jettisoning the inappropriately slapstick “wailing scene” following Juliet’s faux-death and going with a very tasteful, somber scene that deals far more respectfully with a family’s grief. This one example speaks to the overall excellence of the directorial decisions made for this year’s production. Nicely done.

In these and other ways, the Shakespeare Tavern has breathed life into the stale and sometimes tiresome “Romeo and Juliet.” If you haven’t sworn off this play forever, and if you’re not too irreparably jaded by February and Valentine’s Day and the like, check this one out. It very well may surprise you as much as it surprised me.
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Wrong show... by Sampson
This is a review of the current production running, but is posted for a production that closed two years ago. The company listed is NOT the company for this production.

by Dayaniit
Monday, February 18, 2008
3.5
I always enjoy the productions at the Shakespeare Tavern, but this year's R&J seemed less joyful than in previous years. Yes, I know, it's a tragedy, but as their Artistic Director has said in house speeches, "It's a very funny play until everybody starts dying!"
Having seen previous Tavern productions of R&J, I agree. They can find the humor in anything! But this production seemed to lack some luster, some energy. Though Veronika Duerr (Juliet) brings a youthful exhuberance to the part (and she is probably the best thing about this production), it seemed as though she had more chemistry with her dad (Dikron Tulaine as Lord Capulet - also notable for his understated but very funny performance)than with anyone else on stage. I do not mean to imply that this is Duerr's "fault". I just didn't see much genuine chemistry between Duerr and Long (Romeo), though they did their best to manufacture it.
Troy Willis plays a wonderful Friar Lawrence, and newcomer Derek Randall makes more out of his small roles than do most actors.
Yet for all of that, this particular production lacked some spark. I know what the Shakespeare Tavern crew is usually capable of, and this show - while it might have been considered good by other theaters' standards - left me wanting more "oomph" from this crew. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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