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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Silver Spring Stage Romeo and Juliet

By • Feb 25th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Silver Spring Stage
Woodmoor Shopping Center, Silver Spring, MD
Through March 12th
2:45 with one intermission
$20/$18 Seniors and Juniors
Reviewed February 19th, 2011

There are a handful of plays that everyone knows a little something about. Maybe that list contains gems like The Diary of Anne Frank, The Miracle Worker, Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet. And the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet is likely the most well-known scene in theatrical history, especially among non-theatregoers. While generally Shakespearian plays can be difficult to follow, the tale of star-crossed lovers and feuding families in Romeo and Juliet is at least generally familiar to most people, making it a bit easier to understand. And Silver Spring Stage’s production was superlative.

Romeo was portrayed by Stephen Hock. Although the character of Romeo can comes across as wimpy or whiny, Hock portrayed Romeo with a kind of inner strength that allowed him to stand tall for his only love, the fair Juliet. Young Juliet, played by Amy Easton, gave a commendable performance as the girl who wanted only one boy. Easton came across as young and pretty with a strong desire for life and love. At times though she began to speak too quickly to be able to be easily understood, so hopefully she will be able to temper her pace a bit. Lady Capulet played by Karen Fleming came across as a bit stern and hard. Her interactions with Juliet showed love, but also that her place was with whoever she was matched with. Michael J. Fisher as Lord Montague was excellent, despite having to cover the lines of Lady Montague who was unable to perform due to an injury.

There were a lot of characters, so at times it was easy to be confused about who was on stage. Juliet’s nurse was superbly played by Sally Cusenza. Cusenza was loyal to Juliet and quite protective of her. Cusenza came across as a likable woman and was very caring. Nello DeBlasio as Benvolio was also effective.

Director Andrew Greenleaf and producer Andrea Spitz gathered a great team for this production. Set Designer Bob Thompson’s set was creative, with a center block used at times to represent a fountatin, a bed, a tomb, and an altar. The sword fight scenes by fight choreographer William T. Fleming appeared quite realistic and caused a gasp during Mercutio and Tybalt’s fight. The costumes, designed by Susan Schulman, Stacey Thomann, Mary Wakefield, looked fantastic, with many textures and layers.

We encourage you to catch this classic Shakespeare production while you can.

Director’s Note

val-en-tine (noun): a written or other artistic work, message, token, etc., expressing affection for something or someone: This production is our valentine to Shakespeare, and this note is my valentine to everyone involved.

I am drawn to difficult tasks, and maybe that is why I am drawn to Shakespeare. I thought directing the play would be the tough part but writing this note seems harder. How do I collapse 19 months of work and nearly 4 months of rehearsals into a few paragraphs? Can I capture the hours of script analysis and discussions of dramatic inconsistencies in the script? My desire to have you enjoy the show as much as we do? My appreciation for the dedication and collective genius of this team of directors, designers, actors, crew, and others? Certainly I cannot, but I sincerely hope you appreciate their efforts as much as I do. Because we are all volunteers, appreciation and friendship are the primary currencies with which we reward the generosity and expertise of our collaborators. By this accounting, our production team is wealthy indeed.

The Stage selected R&J because it is a story that everyone seems to know, so even folks who lack an ear attuned to Shakespeare’s verse can follow along. I also chose it in remembrance of Bill King, a friend and regular at RLT who encouraged my interest in set construction, design, directing, Shakespeare… and eventually my wife! Bill and I spent many a night at Jonathan’s Restaurant talking about R&J and how he would stage it in RLT’s space. Bill, I hope our show captures some of what you loved about it.

R&J is ultimately a story of first love — exciting, exhilarating, and passionate, yet also bewildering, frustrating, and terrifying. Love – of our partners, our children, even of theatre — causes us to do rash, unpredictable, even unimaginable things in an attempt to hang on to the magic after our hearts are pierced by “the blind bow-boy’s butt shaft”. Love seeks infinite ways to thrive in the face of adversity and obstacles. R&J are sparkling symbols of this contrast – their love blossoms despite their feuding families, grows regardless of their youth and inexperience, and thrives amidst the death and destruction of their kin and their city. The beauty in this play is not that Romeo and Juliet can fall in love, but that they do fall in love despite the conflict around them. So reflect on the things you love, as you enjoy “the two hours’ traffic of our stage.”

“Much misfortune bodes”… well, icy sidewalks… and moving into Tech Week, our Lady Montague had a minor accident preventing her from performing. Her role will be covered by Lord Montague. She will return, if possible. Meanwhile, Lennie, thanks for the hard work. We miss you. Get better soon!

Andrew S. Greenleaf, Director

Cast

  • The Capulets
    • Lord Capulet, head of the Capulet family: Gary Sullivan
    • Lady Capulet, wife to Capulet: Karen Fleming
    • Juliet, daughter to Capulet: Amy Easton
    • Nurse to Juliet: Sally Cusenza
    • Sampson, a Capulet servant: Patrick Jordan
    • Gregoriana, a Capulet servant: Madeleine Smith
    • Tybalt, nephew to Lady Capulet: Tony Strowd
    • Servant Girl: Rebecca Sullivan
  • The Montagues
    • Lord Montague, head of the Montague family: Michael J. Fisher
    • Lady Montague, wife to Montague: Lennie Magida
    • Romeo, son to Montague: Stephen Hock
    • Benvolio, nephew to Montague: Nello DeBlasio
    • Abraham, a Montague servant: Patrick Prebula
  • The People of Verona
    • Escalus, Prince of Verona: Bob Thompson
    • Mercutio, kinsman to the Prince: Philip McLeod
    • Paris, a young nobleman, kinsman to the Prince: Timothy Phelps
    • Friar Laurence, a Franciscan: John Barclay Burns
    • Friar John, a Franciscan: Tony Strowd
    • Apothecary: Madeleine Smith
    • Watchmen: Patrick Jordan, Patrick Prebula, Philip McLeod
    • Flower Seller: Rebecca Sullivan

Production Team

  • Producer: Andrea Spitz
  • Director: Andrew S. Greenleaf
  • Assistant Directors: Amy M. Sullivan, Bridget Muehlberger
  • Stage Manager: Felicity Ann Brown
  • Set Designer: Bob Thompson
  • Master Carpenter: Bob Thompson
  • Set Painting: Mary Seng, Bob Thompson
  • Set Construction and Painting Assistants: Felicity Ann Brown
  • John Barclay Burns; Sally Cusenza; Michael J. Fisher
  • Andrew, John, & Michael Greenleaf; Stephen Hock; Nicole Jaja
  • Patrick Jordan; Lennie Magida; Kristen Skolnik; Madeleine Smith
  • Andrea Spitz, Tony Strowd; Amy & Rebecca Sullivan
  • Properties and Set Decoration: Andrew S. Greenleaf
  • Sonya Okin, Bob Thompson
  • Weapons, Armor, and Gear: William T. Fleming
  • Lighting Designer: Don Slater
  • Sound Designer: Kenny Neal
  • Crew: Kristen Skolnik, Donna Shute
  • Costumers: Susan Schulman, Stacey Thomann, Mary Wakefield
  • Choreographer: Stacey Thomann
  • Combat Choreographer: William T. Fleming
  • Fight Captain: Timothy Phelps
  • Voice and Movement Coach: Andrea Spitz
  • Make-up & Hair: Susan Schulman and the Cast

Disclaimer: Silver Spring Stage provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

One Response »

  1. Thank you for your review! I was able to go and see “Romeo and Juliet” at Silver Spring Stage last night, and I really enjoyed the show. The cast was fantastic! Amy Easton was particularly exceptional in her role as Juliet! I thought that her performance was amazing! Her lines were spoken very clearly and were easily understandable. She really is quite talented. I am so glad that I was able to see the show, and I highly recommend it to others.