ROMEO AND JULIET – THE CHOICE
World Premiere: November 17th and 18th, 2018, Philadelphia, PA
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.
The performance will be presented “in the round” with performers and audience members sharing the same space. For certain crowd scenes, dancers will invite willing audience members to actually participate in the dances. Romeo and Juliet – The Choice takes full advantage of the intimacy and flexibility inherent in the use of the piano to create a truly interactive and innovative experience for this world premiere.
To further explore the alternate ending and themes, scholars from Drexel University of multiple disciplines will engage in a debate prior the performance. Scholars include Dr. Lloyd Ackert of the History Department, Dr. Kirsten Kaschock and Kenneth Bingham of the English Department, and Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen, Dean of the Honors College and Distinguished Professor of English.
This project celebrates cutting edge performance, while tying in history and literature, to challenge the boundaries of performance, while provide opportunities to discuss and debate one of history’s most famous stories. Parks in recognition of the project shares, “I am so delighted and honored to receive the support from Westphal College Rankin Scholar Fund, Drexel Alumni Relations, Drexel Honors College, Drexel Department of Performing Arts and the Dance Program to bring this innovative new work to our campus and the local community of Philadelphia.”