SAN DIEGO -- Director Dan Sullivan returns to the Old Globe Theatre for the first time since his staging of The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1984 with another Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet, starring Neil Patrick Harris. The show, which opens Sept. 5 in the outdoor Lowell Davies amphitheatre, began previews Aug. 30. Said a company spokesperson, "Sullivan and his creative team have set the production in the early Renaissance -- but not the blissful Renaissance so often depicted in Italian paintings of the time. His Verona takes on more of the crude and earthy images portrayed in paintings by Brueghel or Bosch."
Neil Patrick Harris (TV's "Doogie Howser", Rent in L.A.) and Emily Bergl play the star-crossed lovers. Other featured players include Richard Easton, Katherine McGrath and Jonathan McMurty.
"The world of the Capulets and Montagues is set in a walled-off portion of the city, almost a ghetto, where decades of feuding have turned the streets into a combat zone," said Sullivan. "The resulting backdrop is a tarnished, chaotic pile of once-wealthy houses -- now practically caved in on themselves due to years of destruction on both sides. Amidst the rubble, the essential love story emerges, providing a contrast to the generations of familial bloodshed and warfare."
Romeo and Juliet plays through Oct 10. Performance times are Tues-Sunday at 8 PM. Tickets are $23-$39, with discounts for students, seniors and active military. Call (619) 239-2255.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent
and Robert Simonson