As someone who regularly spends her time performing one-woman Shakespearean plays in her bedroom, I can say that ne’er do I shy away from a good modern reworking of the classic texts. Joss Whedon’s upcoming Mucho Ado About Nothing is an absolute delight and pleasure, which I enjoyed every minute of. Give me a new spin on Measure for Measure, anything, but can we please cool it on the Romeo and Juliet adaptations?
Let’s be real, it’s never going to get better than Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Even if you didn’t exactly enjoy that film and Baz isn’t your bag, you understand that he was trying to new breathe new life into something we’ve seen ad nauseum—precisely the point of what a remake should be. But as much as I love Julian Fellowes, this new trailer for the Hailee Steinfeld-led Romeo and Juliet looks to do nothing of the sort. Dramatic, epic, well-acted, sure, but we’ve seen this a million times. And as much as I am sure I will enjoy Paul Giamatti as Friar Laurence, Carlo Carlei’s version here doesn’t exactly have me thrilled. But the one thing I will support is the young cast, which will hopefully help to excite and expose a younger audience into enjoying Shakespeare. Maybe.
So far, the film hasn’t found US distribution but in the meantime check out the trailer below or just watch THIS.
Did you know that there’s a new version of Romeo and Juliet set to hit movie theaters this year? It’s got an all-star cast: Hailee Steinfeld (remember when True Grit was a thing?) as Juliet, Damian Lewis as her father, Ed Westwick as her cousin, and Paul Giamatti as that stupid priest who literally screws everything up. Good lord, people, do I hate Romeo and Juliet. I wouldn’t have much of an opinion, probably, if I hadn’t seen about fifteen different versions of it. Of course, Shakespeare’s classic tale of horny teenagers whose parents hate each other is pretty much entry-level Elizabethan drama, which means that everyone loves it. Everyone loves it so much that it’s coming back to Broadway with Orlando Bloom (thank God he’s working again) and Condola Rashad (Phylicia’s daughter). I suppose you can guess what new spin this production will give to this old, tired play. I could go on, but no one needs another lengthy blog post about Romeo and Juliet, either.
The Last Goodbye, a Romeo And Juliet musical retelling set to the songs of the late Jeff Buckley, will debut in New York in the coming year.
Buckley died in a drowning accident in 1997 at the age of 30.
Broadway director Alex Timbers is at work on The Last Goodbye, which will be workshopped in the coming months. According to the Guardian UK, the musical will include some of Buckley’s most forlorn love songs including Lover, You Should Have Come Over and Eternal Life.
The Last Goodbye wouldn’t be the only Buckley project out there: Gossip Girl star Penn Badgeley recently filmedGreetings From Tim Buckley, a biopic of the singer, which is yet to be released, and yet another biopic stars Reeve Carney from the Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Supposedly a third Buckley biopic is afoot, too.
It’s unclear when all these films will come out, but I think we can agree there is a veritable Jeff Buckley resurgance upon us.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.
So long as they’ve been a part of the literary and theatrical canon, Shakespeare’s plays have been staged in a countless number of iterations, reiterations and reinterpretations that best bear the signs of the times. Hamlet gets ’50s greaser makeover; I’ve even seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the context of the African savannah at the height of British colonialism, but that’s neither here nor there. But for all the ambitious remixes of B-Shakes’ work, few these days opt to go the more traditional route. A new production of Romeo and Juliet that premiered this week courtesy of Tragedians of the City and Northwest Passage offers old-school interpretation fit for modern times with an all-male cast of the Bard’s bad romance.
There should not be anything subversive about these scenes of love and lust and marriage between two men on the stage, particularly in New York City, particularly in 2012," the production team writes on the play’s Kickstarter page. "But in a season where a field of presidential candidates can openly proclaim the wrongness of homosexuality, the unintended politics of traditional Elizabethan casting, should be openly embraced."
Anya Saffir, fresh off the Pipeline Theatre’s production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, directs, and the production stars Michael Piazza (no, not that one) and John Early (previously of Pipeline’s Psycho Beach Party and soon to be featured in a guest appearance on 30 Rock) as Romeo and Juliet, respectively. The play features new music from Cormac Bluestone, who is best known for his composition work on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Romeo and Juliet runs from March 1st until the 17th at the Chernuchin Theater at the American Theatre of Actors, and tickets can be ordered here. Oh, and the show needs your help on Kickstarter to keep the production afloat and, more importantly, tickets affordable, a tall order in New York as you know. For more information, check out the official production website and the video below: