Verona Returns To Boston In The CSC’s Romeo And Juliet

Posted July 12, 2017 by Brian Keaney in Theater & Arts
Shakespeare on the Common

It may be the most famous play by history’s most famous playwright, and it is coming to Boston for all to enjoy. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the timeless tale of two star crossed lovers, is this summer’s Shakespeare on the Common performance.

The story is well known enough after 400 years for the title characters to have become archetypal of young lovers. For those who have repressed memories of eighth grade English class, Romeo and Juliet come from opposite sides of a multi-generational feud, but fall in love anyway after a chance encounter. Their romance does not sit well with their kinsmen, however, and the story ends in tragedy. Rightly considered a classic, the play raises questions that are as old as love itself, most notably what to do when forced to choose between your family and your beloved.

Directed by Allegra Libonati, the show runs from July 19th to August 6th at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common. The curtain opens each night from Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00 pm, and on Sundays at 7:00 pm. On Saturday, August 5th, a 3:00 pm matinee will allow a younger crowd to enjoy the depiction of fair Verona, where the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company lays it scene. The performances are free and open to the public.

The English language has changed over the centuries, and some may find the Bard’s archaic prose challenging. Shakespeare was no prude, however, and over the decades the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has developed a reputation for high energy performances that make full use of the bawdy humor and sexual imagery written into the script. When combined with song and dance, it should be enough to keep everyone entertained and following along.

This is the 20th summer the Company has performed on the Common, and for the platinum anniversary they are returning to their inaugural play. In this run, John Zdrojeski stars as Romeo, and Juliet is portrayed by Gracyn Mix. Zdrojeski, a Boston University School of Theater alumnus, is returning to the Hub from New York where he is in his third year of New York University’s Graduate Acting Program. Mix’s most recent credits include a staring role in The Crucible at the Arkansas Repertory Theater and a host of other appearances across the Midwest.

Picnic dinners are commonly seen at shows, and the Earl of Sandwich offers casual fare nearby. More substantial meals can be had at any one of the numerous restaurants in the area, and food trucks and other vendors will also often be on hand.

The performances typically draw crowds of 100,000 or more over the course of the summer, but there is little seating on the Common. Bring a lawn chair or blanket with you, and arrive up to two hours early if you want a seat close to the stage. For a donation of $60 to $70, a seat can be reserved for you in the new CSC Friends Section. As the shows are put on outdoors, weather may be an issue. If you are worried, call the Company’s Weather Hotline an hour or two in advance of the curtain at (781) 239-5972. Shows will be canceled in the event of heavy rain or lightning.  Bug spray and a sweatshirt or light jacket are also a good idea.