Romeo and Juliet – The Choice

Romeo and Juliet – The Choice, a re-imagining of the popular classical ballet composed by Russian modernist Sergei Prokofiev.

This innovative and immersive production is co-created by founder of Women in Dance, Sandra Parks and world acclaimed pianist, Frederic Chiu.

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ABOUT THE PROJECT:

Romeo and Juliet is a classic Shakespearean play about two star-crossed young lovers from dueling families who tragically take their lives at the conclusion of the play. In 1936, Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev composed the initial draft of a ballet of the title work for piano. In this version, Prokofiev gave the story a “happy ending” where Juliet wakes up before Romeo’s despair leads him to suicide. Prokofiev never orchestrated this ending, choosing instead to adapt his final published orchestra score to the original fate of the lovers in an attempt to placate critics. Romeo and Juliet – The Choice presents audiences with an opportunity to experience either Prokofiev’s original “happy ending” or the more commonly performed version of this beloved score. Audiences will be invited to vote on which ending to be performed, the results of the vote being revealed only when the storyline unfolds.

PROJECT PERFORMANCES:

From November 16th to 18th, 2018, Romeo and Juliet, the Choice was premiered in Philadelphia, PA, supported by Drexel University Rankin Scholar Grant.  Click HERE to learn more about the 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet – The Choice.

On June 4th, 2019, Frederic and the lead dancers presented excerpts at the Westport Library, CT.

On April 8th, and 9th, 2022, the production will be re-staged and presented at Sacred Heart University Community Theater supported by WSHU public radio. It will also include a preview at Choate Rosemary Hall on April 7th, 2022.

ABOUT SANDRA PARKS (CHOREOGRAPHER/CO-Creator)

Sandra is a choreographer, dance educator, and an advocate for female leadership. She is the founder and Executive Director of Women in Dance, a non-profit organization that promotes female leadership in dance and related fields. She served as the Director for Drexel University Dance Program and Louisiana State University Dance Program. Sandra holds her BFA from New York University and MFA from Smith College. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Sandra danced as a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company. She toured nationally and internationally with a Broadway production of the King And I. While directing her own production, she danced and choreographed more than 80 live concerts. After moving to Boston, she danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective, and Impulse Dance Company. Sandra has presented her work at professional venues in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Boston, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia as well as Beijing and Taipei. She also created commissioned work for Bosoma Dance Company in Boston, Cangelosi Dance Project and Of Moving Colors in Baton Rouge, LA. Sandra was a faculty member for Boston University, Bridgewater State College, Colleges of Fenway, Drexel University, Kennesaw State University, Louisiana State University, Regis College, and Smith College, and she has taught master classes in China, France, and Taiwan.

ABOUT FREDERIC CHIU (PIANIST/Co-Creator)

Frederic Chiu’s intriguing piano-playing and teaching springs from a diverse set of experiences and interests: his Asian/American/European background, his musical training, and an early and ongoing exploration of artificial intelligence and human psychology, especially the body-mind-heart connection. With over 25 CDs on the market, his repertoire includes the complete work of Prokofiev as well as popular classics of Chopin, Liszt and others, and lesser known masterpieces of Mendelssohn and Rossini, with a special place for the piano transcription. Many have been singled out, such as “Record of the Year” by Stereo Review, “Top 10 recordings” by the New Yorker, with raves from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Distant Voices, a new recording on the Yamaha Entertainment Group label, released in 2015, is a long-awaited recording of the music of Debussy, along with world premieres of work by Chinese composer Gao Ping. This recording breaks new ground, introducing the first Classical recording to the YEG catalogue. Chiu is also committed to expanding the place of classical music. He has created unusual collaborations with the Shakespearean actor Brian Bedford and psychologist/writer/clown Howard Buten. He worked with the hip-hop artist Socalled in the Messiaen Remix project. He has appeared in numerous films by Ophra Yerushalmi, on the subject of Chopin, Liszt and Debussy. Currently, he is performing with David Gonzalez in the classics Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals, transcribed for solo piano and narrator. He is also running a multi-year project called Classical Smackdown, in which audiences vote for their favorite composers.

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