Love in Bloom: Orlando Bloom Makes Broadway Debut in Romeo and Juliet
By Brandon Voss
Orlando Bloom, known for his screen appearances in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Lord of the Rings," uses and loses his innocence in Broadway's revival of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet now playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Orlando, Orlando! Wherefore art thou, Orlando? An English heartthrob who rose to fame in the movies—"The Lord of the Rings" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchises—Orlando Bloom makes his Broadway debut as Romeo in William Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, which opens Sept. 19 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Directed by five-time Tony nominee David Leveaux, the interracial revival also stars Condola Rashad, a Tony nominee for her work in Stick Fly and The Trip to Bountiful, as Juliet. Finally losing his Shakespeare virginity at 36, Bloom explains why it's never too late to be a star-cross'd lover.
You're a 36-year-old man. What are you doing playing Romeo?
For what it's worth, you don't look 36.
How do you make 1590s Shakespeare engaging for today's audience?
Theirs is a love to die for. Can you relate? And be warned that your wife, actress Miranda Kerr, might kill you if you say no.
To do their love justice, chemistry between the actors playing Romeo and Juliet must be crucial.
With an interracial couple at its center, this production has been conceived with a black household and a white household. Does that racial divide add tension between the feuding families?
How does a contemporary setting benefit the story?
What's unique about your portrayal of Romeo?
You'll no doubt have "Lord of the Rings" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" fans in the audience. Will this Romeo and Juliet please the popcorn-movie crowd? OB: Absolutely. Bringing a historic and acclaimed text to a 2013 audience is key, and I believe everyone can enjoy an evening of love, poetry, and passion. If we do it right, I think there will be a lot of broken hearts around town. People will be turning to their partners, saying, "You don't love me enough!"
(This feature appears in the September 2013 issue of Playbill.)
Romeo and Juliet began previews Aug. 24 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
In addition to Bloom as Romeo and Rashad as Juliet, the cast also features Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Follies, Dead Accounts) as the Nurse, Tony Award winner Brent Carver (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade) as Friar Laurence, Tony winner Chuck Cooper (The Life; Caroline, or Change) as Lord Capulet, Christian Camargo ("The Hurt Locker," "Twilight," All My Sons) as Mercutio, Justin Guarini (Women on the Verge, "American Idol") as Paris, Roslyn Ruff ( The Piano Lesson, "The Help") as Lady Capulet, Conrad Kemp ("The Girl") as Benvolio, Corey Hawkins as Tybalt and Geoffrey Owens as Prince Escalus.
This production marks the first time in 36 years that the play has been produced for Broadway. This version of the classic tale, according to press notes, "will retain Shakespeare’s original language but have a modern setting in which members of the Montague family will be white, and the Capulet family will be black."
For tickets visit Ticketmaster.com. The Richard Rodgers Theatre is located at 226 W 46th Street.
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