“Lord of the Rings” star Orlando Bloom is set to star alongside, Tony Award-nominee Condola Rashad, in David Leveaux’s Broadway production of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
The production, which will open at the Richard Rodgers theatre on August 24, will be contemporary-set with an emphasis on race. It will also be the first Broadway “Romeo and Juliet” in nearly 40 years.
On casting Bloom David Leveaux, a five-time Tony Award nominee told the Associated Press that the 36-year-old actor had come aboard years ago. Bloom had wanted to join the Royal Shakespeare Company but was persuaded to do join “The Lord of the Rings” franchise instead.
Leveaux said "I was just so fascinated by his passion and his absolute boyish love of this language that I thought, 'Yep, that feels like our Romeo.”
Bloom has also appeared in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" film series and recently completed filming "Zulu" with Forest Whitaker.
David Leveaux, a five-time Tony Award nominee told the Associated Press “The last thing we wanted to do was to do a sort of pompous, classic version of “Romeo and Juliet”.
“I'm just taking away all the wallpaper and mantelpieces, all the kind of pompous stuff we associate with grand Shakespeare productions, and try to go as simple as possible."
The producers revealed "While race defines the family lineages, the original cause of the ‘ancient quarrel’, passed down by successive generations to their young, has been lost to time. Shakespeare’s dramatization of the original poem sets the two young lovers in a context of prejudice, authoritarian parents, and a never ending cycle of ‘revenge.’ Against this background, the strength of their love changes the world."
Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell will be playing the role of the Nurse, and fellow nominee Joe Morton will play Lord Capulet. The show will hopefully open to the public from September. 19 as general admission tickets go on sale on the 8th.
The last production of “Romeo and Juliet” to hit New York was in 1977 when Paul Ryan Rudd and Pamela Payton-Wright played the star-crossed lovers in a Circle in the Square production.