Justin Guarini and Roslyn Ruff have joined Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom in the upcoming new Broadway adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, with an interracial twist.
Condola will play Juliet opposite Bloom, making his Broadway debut (although not his stage debut) as Romeo.
Joe Morton will join Rashad in the Capulet clan will be as Lord Capulet.
Meanwhile, Guarini will play Paris, a noble rival to Romeo for the affections of Juliet, and unlike him, a suitor sanctioned by her parents.
And Roslyn Ruff will play Lady Capulet, with Chuck Cooper as Lord Capulet.
The production will be directed by David Leveaux, and will showcase Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers as an interracial couple, with the Capulets as an black family, and the Montagues a white family, although the director says that the play would be set in modern times, and won’t necessarily make any commentary on race.
Here’s a quote from director Leveaux on that matter:
“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… There was nothing simple about that choice but I’m not about to turn a contemporary version of Shakespeare into a sociological or political point… 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.”
Other black actors of note in the cast are Corey Hawkins as Tybalt and Geoffrey Owens as Escalus.
The play is to begin previews on August 24, for a September 19 opening, at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
Joe Morton was originally announced to play Lord Capulet but it looks like it’s Chuck Cooper’s role now.