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Major Curda and Dorcas Leung in ROMEO AND JULIET. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Broadway World: Review: ROMEO AND JULIET at Two River Theater Brings Captivating Modern Twists to Shakespeare's Classic

by Marina Kennedy

“There’s no world without Verona walls.” by Romeo inRomeo and Juliet

A unique production of Romeo and Juliet is now being presented at Two River Theater (TRT). We are certain you will find the show captivating. The play showcases an ingenious contemporary spirit and modern verse translation by playwright, Hansol Jung. It is co-directed by Dustin Wills and Hansol Jung with original music by Brian Quijada that complements the show perfectly. Seen in 2020 as part of Two River Theater’s Two River Rising online reading series, this Romeo and Juliet was originally commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! Project and is being presented at TRT in partnership with the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO).

Set in Verona, Italy, Romeo and Juliet is the classic story of star-crossed lovers. The long-term feud between the Montague and the Capulet families results in mayhem and murder. When Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall deeply in love and wish to be together, their prospects for a lasting relationship end in their tragic deaths. This story is well suited for the show’s innovative and fresh take. The Bard’s prose, along with the drama, intrigue, and romance, have been thoughtfully maintained. There are very clever, well-placed touches that include modern costuming, inventive props, compelling music, exciting action, and unexpected comedy that move the plot forward.

The multi-talented cast brings Romeo and Juliet to full life on the Red Bank stage as they master the fast pace of the show. The company includes Major Curda as Romeo; Dorcas Leung as Juliet; Purva Bedi as Friar Laurence; Jose Gamo as Mercutio; Brian Lee Huynh as Capulet; Zion Jang as Benvolio; Mia Katigbak as Nurse; Bob Kellogg as Paris/Tybalt; and Daniel Liu as Peter/Lady Capulet.

Patrons will like that the show is performed on a circular stage with audience members seated around it. Some of the many memorable scenes include Romeo’s first encounter with Juliet; Nurse speaking of raising young Juliet; Benvolio’s vain attempt at peacemaking; Mercutio’s raucous behavior; Romeo and Juliet’s touching duet; Capulet’s pride when he promises Juliet to Paris; Lady Capulet’s excitement over Juliet and Paris’ wedding news; Friar Laurence giving Juliet a potion; Romeo’s discovery of Juliet in a deep sleep believing she has perished; and Peter’s rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

The Production Team has done a top job of creating just the right the mood and setting for Romeo and Juliet. They include scenic design by Junghyun Georgia Lee; costume design by Mariko Ohigashi; lighting design by Joey Moro; and sound design by Megumi Katayama. The Music Director is Nygel D. Robinson; Fight Director/Intimacy Consultant, Rick Sordelet; Casting Director, Andrea Zee; Production Stage Manager, Hannah Woodward; and Assistant Stage Manager, Kathleen Rose Gallardo.

TRT’s production of Romeo and Juliet is a hip, moving, and entertaining theatre experience. We congratulate the theater’s Managing Director, Nora Deveau-Rosen and Artistic Director, Justin Waldman for continuing to provide great theatre in New Jersey.

Romeo and Juliet will be performed through April 30 at Two River Theater located at 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701. The production runs for 2 hours and 35 minutes with one intermission. For tickets and more information, please visit or call 732.345.1400.

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson