Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, (785) 864-2684.

KU's University Theatre to stage Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas University Theatre will present "Romeo and Juliet," William Shakespeare's classic tale of love and loss, beginning Nov. 12 in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

First produced in 1593 and often regarded by scholars as one of Shakespeare's lesser tragedies, "Romeo and Juliet" has become one of the most beloved plays of all time. The title characters are considered archetypal lovers, and the play contains some of Shakespeare's most-quoted lines, and some of his most beautiful.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 and 13 and 18-20 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 14. Reserved-seat tickets are on sale at KU ticket offices: University Theatre, 864-3982, and Lied Center, 864-ARTS; and on-line at http://www.kutheatre.com. Tickets cost $16 for the public, $15 for senior citizens and KU faculty/staff and $10 for students. VISA and Mastercard are accepted for phone and on-line orders.

The KU production is directed by Jack B Wright, professor of theatre and film. The scenic and lighting designs are by Jennifer Luck, Birmingham, Ala., graduate student; and the costume design is by Robbie Jones, Garden City graduate student. Paul Meier, professor of theatre and film, is voice and text coach.

The fights have been staged by guest artist D.C. Wright, head of the movement/stage combat program at Western Illinois University, Macomb. He was assisted by Leslie Bennett, KU associate professor of theatre and film, who is also the choreographer and movement coach, and Christopher Wheatley, Lawrence senior, who plays Romeo.

Shakespeare wrote no original plots, and for this play he used an English poetic retelling of an old Italian tale, “The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet.” Shakespeare altered the story by lowering Juliet's age from 16 to just under 14 and emphasized the hasty and premature nature of the couple's love.

Staging the play with the large cast of 26 is a challenge for a director.

“The key is to keep it simple,” Wright said. “Our stage design is practical and functional and very sparse, except for the necessary props and a few benches. That way the text can come out, and we can appreciate the poetry of the words.”

Working with professional fight directors and choreographers adds another dimension to the production, Wright said. Guest artist D.C. Wright is a specialist in movement, directing and stage combat and a certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors.

Members of the cast for “Romeo and Juliet” are listed by name, class, major, parents' names, high school, and role:
From Iola
Samantha Raines, senior in theatre, daughter of Susan Raines; Iola High School; Lady Montague.

From Hiawatha
Megan Persinger, junior in theatre, daughter of Bill and Kathy Persinger; Hiawatha High School; Musician.

From Lawrence
Patrick C. Carriere, doctoral student in theatre, son of Donald and Winifred Carriere; Bemidji, Minn., High School; Capulet.
Dianne-Yvette Cook, senior in theatre and film, daughter of Harold and Muriel Cook; Lawrence Free State High School; Ensemble.
Stephen Ferrell, sophomore in theatre and English, son of Alfred Ferrell; Perry Lecompton High School; Peter.
Evan C. Grosshans, senior in theatre and theatre/voice, son of Kip and Kay Grosshans; Lawrence High School; Benvolio.
Dylan Hilpman, junior in theatre and voice, son of Dwight and Peggy Hilpman; Lawrence Free State High School; Tybalt and the Apothecary.
Christopher Wheatley, senior in theatre, son of Kathy Pryor and Jim Peterson and of Ken Wheatley; Lawrence Free State High School; Romeo.

From DeSoto
Jeremy Riggs, freshman in theatre, son of Larry and Dvonna Riggs, DeSoto High School, Montague.
From Lenexa
Val Smith, freshman in painting and international studies, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Smith; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; Ensemble.
From Merriam
Patrick Crough, sophomore in pre-journalism, son of Deborah Crough; Shawnee Mission North High School; Ensemble.
From Overland Park
Candice Bondank, sophomore in theatre and voice, daughter of Tom Bondank and Sharon Echols; Shawnee Mission South High School; Ensemble.
Megan Frances Carter, senior in English and Slavic languages and literature, daughter of Rini and Craig Carter; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Nurse
Aaron Champion, senior in theatre and art history, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Champion; Shawnee Mission South High School; Mercutio
Steve Ducey, senior in philosophy, son of Thomas and Arleen Ducey; Blue Valley North High School; Paris.
Samara E. Naeymi, senior in theatre, daughter of Brad and Dorothy Naeymi; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Lady Capulet.
Brad Sikes, freshman in theatre and film, son of Rodney and Elizabeth Sikes; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Gregory.

From Lansing
Lawrence P. Henderson, sophomore in theatre, son of Lawrence W. Henderson and Terril Harris; Lansing High School, Friar Lawrence.
From Tonganoxie
Kellen Cruden, senior in English, son of Ken and Kathy Cruden; Basehor-Linwood High School; Abram.

From Topeka
Elisabeth Ahrens, senior in theatre, daughter of Martin R. Ahrens and Marsha L. Anderson; Washburn Rural High School; Juliet.

From Kansas City
Trai Byers, senior in theatre, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Byers, Tucker, Ga., High School; Prince Escalus.
Robert Steele, senior in theatre and film, son of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Steele; Washington High School; Ensemble.

From Downers Grove
Meg Saricks, sophomore in theatre and communications, daughter of Chris and Joyce Saricks; Downers Grove High School; Ensemble.

From Kansas City
Patrick Craft, senior in theatre, son of Mary Craft; Winnetonka High School, Sampson.

From Norman
Kate Hurley, senior in theatre/voice, daughter of Phil and Gail Hurley; Norman North High School; Balthasar.

From Plano
Ben Cook, freshman in theatre and film, son of Rick and Carol Cook;Plano Senior High School; Tybalt's Page.


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