Shakespeare in Brooklyn Romeo & Juliet Opens First Season for Brooklyn’s Classical Theatre

Fridays & Saturdays: May 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 21 & 22 @ 8 p.m.

Tickets $15 /$10 (seniors and students)

Genesis @ The Block Institute

376 Bay 44th Street, Brooklyn


Genesis Repertory Ensemble

Brooklyn – Genesis Repertory opens its first season in Brooklyn with a production of Romeo & Juliet SET IN BROOKLYN. A revival of the company’s acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers updated to feature a Russian-Jewish Romeo and a Palestinian Juliet finding love in the streets of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and Sheepshead Bay begins a three-week run starting Friday, May 7, at the company’s home space at the Block Institute on Bay 44th Street. The ambitious multimedia production includes film sequences, environmental staging with actors roaming the entire theatre – including the audience – and realistic (and bloody) fight scenes. The entire production is designed and directed by the company’s artistic director, Mary Elizabeth MiCari, whose Broadway staff credentials include Wonderful Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Light in the Piazza, and Little Women.

Making his professional theatre debut is 16-year-old Nelson Gonzalez as the headstrong Romeo. Aileen Lanni shares the marquee with him as Juliet. The cast includes local celebrities John Stillwaggon as Mercutio and Miguel Angel Sierra as his nemesis, Tybalt; British classical actress Anna Frankl-Duval and Russian-born character actor Kevin Sheynerman flank the Montagues while international opera singer, Courteney Lynn Wilds, shares the Capulet stage as the Nurse. Film and off-Broadway actor/playwright Francis Callahan guest stars as Friar Lawrence. The Montagues and the Capulets (led by Jay Michaels and Robert Aloi as the patriarchs), also include Christopher Sirota, Kristin O’Blessin, John Karcher, Mohammed Saad Ali, Lisa Tosti, Louis Tullo, Jennifer Stella, Theresa Chow, Eric Fitzgerald, and Lorenzo Valoy.

The multi-talented ensemble is also responsible for the production’s technical wizardry with film sequences directed by Jay Michaels and Christopher Sirota; fight choreography by Lisa Tosti (assisted by John Stillwaggon and Miguel Sierra); technical direction by Eric Fitzgerald; assistant costume coordination by Kristin O’Blessin; Russian and Arabic consultation by Kevin Sheynerman and Mohammed Saad Ali, and Louis Tullo serving as assistant director and the company’s webmaster.

During the month, the company will also present the rare alternate version of Hamlet and a special stage presentation from its arts training program.

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