O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Juliet, honey, he's headed to Broadway! Yes, Miss Capulet's star-crossed lover will be played by Orlando Bloom as a modernized version of the Shakespearean tragedy hits the Great White Way.
The role of Juliet will be played by Condola Rashad, an African-American actress and Tony nominee. Director David Leveaux explained to the New York Times why he wanted Romeo and Juliet to be different races, saying "They could have been any number of different ethnicities…The two actors I wanted to be together producing sparks just happened to be those two and I followed my nose in casting the families."
For that reason, Leveaux cast the Capulets as an all-black clan and the Montagues as all-white "to reflect real life rather than make a comment on race."
"I'm not about to turn a contemporary version of Shakespeare into a sociological or political point," he added. "We know there are families from one background or another who would reject their children getting together with someone from another group. Romeo and Juliet reject that notion. It is still the case that children try to oppose the cultural expectations thrust upon them, the rigidity of tribes, the rigidity of fundamentalism."
Romeo and Juliet will begin in preview Aug. 24 for a Sept. 19 opening.