the occasional thoughts of a theater fan
You never know who might be out on the streets of the Theatre District in NYC. On Aug 7 '13 it was Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, Broadway's newest Romeo and Juliet! The undeniably attractive young actors follow in the footsteps of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh from the first Broadway production in 1940. It's been 36 years since the last Broadway production, and this cast features Bloom, in his Broadway debut and Rashad ("Stick Fly," "Trip to Bountiful"), and is directed by David Leveaux (5 time Tony® Award nominee). Also appearing is Brent Carver ("Kiss of the Spiderwoman") as Friar Laurence, and Jane Houdyshell ("Follies") as The Nurse.
This was the "meet the paparazzi" day for Orlando and Condola, complete with motorcycle and graffiti for effect. After posing separately, with some ceremonial revving of the motorcycle by "Romeo,"and then together, for the phalanx of photographers, there was some playful spray painting of the theatre doors.
And based on this brief glimpse, I'd say we're not talking a "traditional" interpretation of Shakespeare's vaulted romantic story, and that's always intrigues me! I've seen Condola in her two previous Tony® Award-nominated turns on Broadway, and am seriously blown away by her charisma on stage. She's also very kind at the stage door, and has an adorable little dog that accompanies her!
It must be love; there's graffiti to prove it! Finished product below, with motorcycle accompaniment.
The (decidedly less glamorous) loading in of the show was in progress within a few hours. Much harder work than posing on a motorcycle for sure! The Richard Rodgers Theatre has received quite a makeover in preparation for the show as well. Playbill.com has a great article about the changes here.
The show has its first preview today, Aug 24 '13, and I'll be seeing it tomorrow! The lovers' story may not have a happy ending, but this beginning appeared to go quite well.
UPDATE: Just for kicks, I checked out the stage door after the performance I attended (only the third preview!), and it took calling in extra police and security to (somewhat unsuccessfully) contain the hordes waiting on both sides of the street for Orlando Bloom.
I did spot Tonya Pinkins, soon to be starring in "A Time to Kill" on Broadway as I was leaving the theatre.