The marriage of Romeo to Juliet did not run smooth, as is the case with many unions with William Shakespeare serving as Justice of the Peace. Imagine, therefore, introducing modern music to the mix. Under the creative direction of Annie DiMartino, the Director of Education at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre, an energetic troupe of young performers will wed modern tunes to the Bard's immortal words in "Shake-it-up Shakespeare" performed on Stage II Thursday - Sunday, August 22-25. This is the fourth year of the project that involves high school and college students, ages 14-21, this year 27 as cast and 2 as back stage workers.
You still have the doomed-to-fate, star-crossed youthful lovers who are from two families consumed with hatred. They are the victims of an enmity not of their making, but the teens suffer for the sins of their parents. DiMartino has added a modern soundtrack to the classic love story, thirteen songs in all, from pop stars like Taylor Swift, Mumford and Sons and The Dave Matthews Band, among others.
In her version (read vision), the Montagues are dirt poor folks from Appalachia while the Capulets frolic in a world of wealth. According to DiMartino, "I've been intrigued by the idea of mudslinging. They hurl insults like daggers at each other. Everyone is stained by it, and this production will physically manifest that condition. No matter how beautiful things are on the outside, everyone is still dirty."
The cast includes Chrystina Bonelli of Guilford; Jessica Coppola of North Haven; Alex Luft of Trumbull; Chloe Chappa of Oxford; Chrystina Bonelli of Guilford; Dawn Williams of Trumbull; Emily Roberson of New Haven; Hannah Scholnick of Madison; Henry Tobelman of Killingworth; James Taubl of New Haven; Jane Logan of Branford; Jeremiah Taubl of New Haven; Jessica Coppola of North Haven; Kiet Ho of East Haven; Lilly Holmes of Newtown; MacKenzie Stratton of Orange; Maggie Richardson of Wallingford; Matthew DeCostanza of Milford; Morgan Campbell of Westbrook; Nina Dicker of Old Saybrook; Oriana Mack of Woodbridge; Rachel Skalka of Woodbridge; Rebecca Liss of Woodbridge; Ryan Ronan of West Haven; Sam Taubl of New Haven; Samantha Edelman of North Haven; Sara Jadbabaie of Woodbridge; Shanen Seale of Milford; and Steven Smith of New Haven.
Tickets are $10. Call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. This production is so magical and remarkable that it should be videoed and sent to all high schools across the country.
Come have fun with this unique interpretation of a tragedy by the Bard. Kudos, accolades, and bravo!