Condola Rashad is Juliet to Orlando Bloom’s Romeo in new production of Shakespeare’s tragedy
by Tambay A. Obenson
shadow and act
And the beat goes on for Condola Rashad, who is currently starring in another Broadway show, a revival of Horton Foote’s 1953 drama The Trip to Bountiful, alongside Cicely Tyson, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Williams.
The show is set to start a 14-week run on April 23, although previews began yesterday, March 31.
Now Rashad, daughter of Phylicia and Ahmad Rashad, will star in a new Broadway adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, with an interracial twist.
She’ll play Juliet opposite Orlando Bloom, making his Broadway debut (although not his stage debut) as Romeo.
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.”
Joining Rashad in the Capulet clan will be Joe Morton as Lord Capulet, with additional casting still to be announced.
The play is to begin previews on August 24, for a September 19 opening, at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
Condola Rashad is quickly becoming the new ‘it’ black girl it seems (at least in the theatre world), working in just about all key platforms - film, TV, stage, and even music, winning acclaim universally.
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