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  Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Romeo and Juliet

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

A city, two families, and a hatred so old that no one remembers its cause. Defying every boundary forged from their families' enmity, Romeo and Juliet fall in love. In a society torn apart by hate, Shakespeare sets his immortal tale of love and senseless tragedy. For Chicago Shakespeare Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, now is the time to direct her first Romeo and Juliet, as Chicago awaits her vision for the most famous love story of all time.

Thru - Dec 22, 2019

Stage: Courtyard Theater

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-595-5600

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  Romeo and Juliet Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Director Barbara Gaines’ overall concept is bold, so much so that her kaleidoscopic visuals sometimes threaten to overpower the humans on stage."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The violence in the fight scenes (directed by Rick Sordelet) is bloodier than what I've seen in past productions, but the roots of that violence as they relate to current socioeconomic conditions in Chicago remain murky, which ends up distancing us from the urgency of the young lovers' plight. The text is clear, the humor is sharp, and the physical staging crisp—but Gaines hasn't found a way to articulate what this play in this setting really says about our city today."
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Kerry Reid

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...To emphasize the global relevance of her parable, Gaines has cast across ethnic and gender lines—e.g. Friar Lawrence ( whose church now displays a Protestant altar ) is now played by African-American female actor Darlene Hope—and instructed her designers to adopt a visual palette blending vivid tropical hues and subdued preppy tints, and to swaddle the lovers in soft disco-era dance music, while searing the adolescent bro's in harsh LED chiaroscuro. This conceptual immediacy is further underlined by a text not re-edited, so much as rescored, in order to highlight phrases often muted, if not excised completely."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...The tragic love story that could have taken place anywhere in time with an unforgettable cast of talent made this version forever embedded in our memories surrounding the two lovebirds and their families, the Capulet and Montague saga."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...When it comes to the works of William Shakespeare, there is none so fine as Barbara Gaines of Chicago Shakespeare Theater to do the job. Gaines is like a “master chef” creating something unique from the same ingredients that others have used for centuries to create something tasty for the younger theater audiences!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers up a unique and creative take on “Romeo and Juliet.” Set in a modern urban setting, this production explodes with color. The primary set design itself, a multi-pastel-colored basketball court, feels like something more at home in a Spike Lee Joint than on a Shakespearean stage. The diverse and talented cast matches this vision and appear as the perfect meld between two different eras and a seemingly neverending cycles of violence and retribution."
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Noel Schecter

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...For a Shakespearean performance that feels as up-to-date as real life, and as powerful as today’s headlines, this multicultural production is a revelation. Theatergoers who think that Shakespearean dramas are stuffy and too erudite for young people to appreciate will be pleasantly surprised with this show’s accessibility. Barbara Gaines, the gifted and visionary Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, has imbued one the Bard’s most popular, tragic love stories with her magic touch, creating a brand new, contemporary production that’s certain to generate a new audience of fans for Mr. Shakespeare’s plays."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Somewhat Recommended

"...Ultimately, the CST revival is defeated by the undercasting of the major roles as well as many of the complementary roles. Still, the production does have its moments, being a Shakespeare play it could hardly be otherwise. The most convincing scenes are the bloody gang fight that leads to the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt and the later passionate eruptions of James Newcomb’s brilliant Mr. Capulet. But they aren’t enough."
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Dan Zeff - Highly Recommended

"...The production also injects its own modern twists and sense of humor into the play’s dialogue - crowd favorite Mercutio (wonderfully played by Kade Cox) donned in drag and sharp, whimsical musings often spewed from the mouth of Juliet. Yet, at the same time, the play never loses the integrity of Shakespeare’s work of art as it was intended. The love was as refreshing as we have always experienced and the tragedy just as heartbreaking."
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Ken Payne

The Hawk Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...In piecemeal, Chicago Shakespeare’s production has intriguing elements, but it’s hard to be fully invested in the show. The focus on senseless violence renders our lovers’ relationship senseless too, and, be you Team Infatuation or Team Genuine Affection, it’s simply not as interesting to watch 140 minutes of a passion play sans passion."
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Emily Schmidt

Chicago Theater and Arts - Somewhat Recommended

"...That Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Barbara Gaines would like to remind CST audiences that the problems Shakespeare dramatized and Bernstein put to music still exist, is laudable. However, given the set design, cast and costumes of the Gaines production, there probably should be a different title."
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Jodie Jacobs

Chicago On Stage - Somewhat Recommended

"...However, it is the star-crossed lovers themselves who ultimately determine the strength of this play, and even though both of them are fine actors with several excellent moments here, they just never seem to be a real couple. They also don’t feel young enough to be thoughtlessly swept away by the tumult of their parents’ hate."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix - Recommended

"...Early on, the jovial nature of the Capulet party leads to a street confrontation-one of many no-holds-barred fight scenes superbly staged by Rick Sordelet-another nod to the creative spirit that results in a lively, introspective interpretation of the classic love story. In all things, the lovers ultimately choose to ignore the realities of their two divided families-actions that unalterably change everyone around them. What the lasting impact is on the rest of us remains to be seen, but Gaines's parry on familiar themes allows us an alternative way into a dynamic production that will have broad appeal and a lasting impact on audiences of all ages."
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Ed Tracy

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