West Windsor, N.J. – Blend Shakespeare’s grandest romantic tragedy with Prokofiev’s gorgeous ballet and it’s time to experience a whole new “Romeo and Juliet.” The Theatre and Dance Program at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) presents an original adaptation of the Shakespeare amazing classic at Kelsey Theatre. Dates and show times are Fridays, April 10 and 17 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, April 11 and 18 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, April 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.
According to MCCC’s Theatre/Dance Program Coordinator Jody Gazenbeek-Person, Shakespeare’s words will be enriched with ballet, as acting and dance merge into one mesmerizing performance. “The play’s original five acts have been blended into two acts, with the acting and dancing weaving in and out of each other as the plot unfolds,” Gazenbeek-Person said.
Gazenbeek-Person proceeded with the blended concept after meeting McCarter Theatre Artistic Director Emily Mann, who did an adaptation of her own in 2001 and graciously shared her script. “When I saw Ms. Mann’s script, I was less afraid to cut. Some of the minor characters have been removed, but all the important soliloquies remain. Others have been replaced with dance. My goal is to remain true to the poetry of Shakespeare, and the beautiful music of Prokofiev’s ballet,” he said.
Gazenbeek-Person, an associate professor, notes that his students have spent considerable time researching the language, dress and lifestyle of Elizabethan England. “The show includes some carefully choreographed sword fights. In Elizabethan times, street violence was very real. You could walk out of the theater having marveled at a sword fight on stage and find yourself pulling out your sword on the street upon leaving the theater. It was very much a part of Elizabethan life and we still find similar violence today.”
The cast features: Nicholas J. Andrejco of Ewing (Nurse); Amy Annucci of Ewing (Principal Dancer); Nick Concepcion of East Windsor (Dancing Romeo); Stephanie England of Hamilton (Principal Dancer/ Harlot); Kelly Fratz of Yardville (Lady Montague); Christopher Fulwood of Trenton (Paris); Robert Gray of Red Bank (Friar Laurence); Michaelyn Haley of Trenton (Lady Capulet); Kyle Kington of Florence (Acting Romeo); Jayden Klatskin of East Windsor (Benvolio); David Koellner of Lawrenceville (Lord Capulet); Madison Kotnarowski of Trenton (Acolyte of the Principessa); Rachel Lemos of Lawrenceville (Friar John/Principal Dancer); Jorge Martinez of Trenton (Lord Montague); Christian Monturano of Ivyland, Pa. (Peter, Servant to the Capulets); Terrel Moody of Monroe (Principal Dancer); Jonathan Polanco of Hamilton (Mercutio); Brianna Rapp of East Windsor (Dancing Juliet); Sadie Ronga-Rubin of Ewing (Acting Juliet); Alden Stewart of Lambertville (Principessa); Tristan Takacs of Hamilton (Tybalt); Calla Tisdale of Princeton Junction (Acolyte of the Principessa); and Monet Wooding of East Windsor (Rosaline/Principal Dancer).
Lighting and sound is by MCCC’s Entertainment Technology students. The production team also includes Director Lou Stalsworth, Choreographer/Producer Jody P. Gazenbeek-Person, Light and Sound Designer Robert Terrano, Set and Costume Designer Kate Pinner, Makeup and Hair Designer Koren Zander, Stage Manager Amanda Suchil, Assistant Stage Managers Nicole Schulnick and Megan Haltmeier, Assistant Light Designer Star McCloud, Assistant Sound Designers Eric Collins and Evan Paine, Assistant Choreographer Shelley Lightman, Assistant Makeup and Hair Designers Jonathan Cintron and Robert Reeg, and Props Master Madelyn Lichtman.
Tickets for “Romeo and Juliet” are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or onlinehere. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available next to the theater.
Students interested in Theatre and Dance at MCCC may pursue their associate degrees in either Liberal Arts or Fine Arts. Read more about the Theatre/Dance program here.
For the complete events schedule and more at Kelsey Theatre, visit: