The Civic Presents: Romeo and Juliet
Table of Contents
February 9 – 24, 2024
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
In this 90-minute version of the Shakespearean classic, you’ll be transported to fair Verona, where we lay our scene. In this new interpretation, adapted especially for the Civic stage by director Emily Rogge Tzucker, you can expect the romantic tale of star-crossed love with an extra dash of energy and excitement. Dark, contemporary and just a little bit rock-and-roll, Civic’s production promises the best of the old while breathing new life into a classic tale of love and loss.
Purchase tickets at thecenterpresents.org.
Steve Kruze – Friar Laurence
Shakespeare is my spouse’s [Christine Kruze] favorite. We met during Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” back in college 30 years ago. For me, [performing in this production] is a chance for me to watch [Christine] do her thing. As far as the part of the friar, I think it’s about understanding the history of what was going on at the time when this play was written, 50-plus years after the [Catholic] Reformation began. Shakespeare places a Catholic priest in a pretty pivotal part, and it doesn’t always go well. I think of my character as the “road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” My character doesn’t want bad things to happen…he wants good things to happen. But by interjecting himself into these things without being able to see the whole picture, it causes some chaos.
Christine Kruze – Lady Capulet
Any opportunity that we [Christine and Steve] get to do a show together is great! Shakespeare, especially in this story, wrote quintessential stories about people. I love the idea and the opportunity to expand on what people think they know about Romeo and Juliet. I feel like there are depths to the relationships that can really be explored beyond, “Oh, they’re so in love and can’t be together so they kill themselves.” How the family treats Juliet contributes to the idea of isolation and being marginalized by the adults…not being heard is extremely relevant right now. Another thing that is awesome about the story underneath the story is there are two factions against each other. Again, I feel like we’re not so far away from that being a relevant topic. Sadly, [Romeo and Juliet] is still timely, and like all of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it still resonates with people. I feel like the character of Lady Capulet, she’s kind of awful, but she’s of her time. Women were expected to live a certain way, make a good match, and marry well. Being “comfortable” gives you access and ease of life. She couldn’t imagine not wanting that, so the idea that Juliet’s “in love” is foreign to her. It’s been interesting delving into that because I’m very much about my kids and am involved in their lives. This [role] is a way of exploring the “mean mom,” and it’s always fun to play a villain.
Emily Rogge Tzucker – Director
I think [Civic] chose [Romeo and Juliet] because out of all of Shakespeare’s plays, it’s the one a lot of people know, and because we have the wonderful opportunity to do student matinees that will bring in somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 students to see this production.
When you see [Romeo and Juliet] live, it’s a whole different experience. These plays were not written to only be studied…they were ultimately written to be performed. It’s really exciting to see the characters brought to life. I’ve adapted it and took it from 3 ½ hours down to a solid 90 minutes. It’s going to be a very clean, sparse set, but it’s kind of out of time…it’s not in one particular time period because it is a timeless story. We’ve set it in a timeless way, and you’ll see the costumes in a fun combination of Renaissance elements with jeans and combat boots. You’ll see a Renaissance jacket made of denim and leather. We’ve got some solid sword fighting and have a wonderful fight choreographer who’s doing all of that work for us.
Rebecca Piñero – Juliet Capulet
I think so much of [the character] is just Juliet being a teenage girl and being allowed to feel everything that she feels and start to be more in tune with the world around her. At the beginning of the play, she has been sheltered and doesn’t really connect with anyone other than her nurse. But when she meets Romeo, she discovers more about herself, and she sees the world in such a beautiful way and expresses how she sees the world, so it’s really beautiful to see that character arc throughout the show.
I think it’s really easy to see the other characters as villains through the lens that we have now, but if we look at their relationships and their economic statuses, we’re really similar to the way things are now. Parents now are similar to parents then, trying to do the very best possible things they can for their families. In this play, part of that was making everything kind of transactional, getting rid of emotions, and that was [the Capulets’] way of taking care of Juliet, and it may not seem like that through the lens we have now. I think part of it was written as a cautionary tale of overbearing and overprotectiveness and the effects of trying to control and limit what [young people] are capable of.
Kendrell Stiff – Romeo Montague
At the start, Romeo is this really bold guy who isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind. He does whatever he wants, pretty much, and that is very different from how I live my life. I like to let other people talk; I don’t like to be outspoken. But once he meets Juliet, you start to see his layers. You see he is just a regular person. He’s not this guy that has this bravado that can’t be touched. He’s just a teenage boy…he’s got hormones flowing. He just wants to be loved, and he wants someone that he can love. I think that’s something that I can definitely relate to, and that’s something that everyone can relate to, really.
In our production, Romeo’s dad is dead. That automatically adds a completely new dynamic to Romeo. His dad is gone, and all of his titles are gone, and with that, all of his money. I think he’s sort of acting out, in a way, and his mom really wants to try to get through to him, but she’s also trying to figure things out. She wants Romeo to be the head of the house and to be the head of everything, but that’s not really what he wants. He wants to live his own life. I think anyone who has dealt with that kind of loss, that’s a really big thing that they can connect with. I think as tragic as this story is, in reality, there’s a story of hope. Even with Romeo and Juliet’s death…and Mercutio and Tybalt’s death, and, well…a lot of people die, but even with all of that tragedy, there is, in the end, a union of the two households. They finally see that all of this turmoil was stupid, and it caused all of this hurt. The message of hope in that all of that tragedy is if you keep going, there is a light at the end of it.
Romeo Montague – Kendrell Stiff
Juliet Capulet – Rebecca Piñero
Lord Capulet – Parrish Williams
Lady Capulet – Christine Kruze
Lady Montague – Carrie Reiberg
The Nurse – Angi Parks
Mercutio – Shelby Myers
Tybalt – Nicholas Gibbs
Count Paris – Jeffrey Weimer
Prince Escalus – Evangeline Bouw
Friar Laurence – Steve Kruze
Benvolio – Ryan Moskalick
Chorus (Brother John, Apothecary, Watch, Servant) – Kelsey VanVoorst
Sampson/Various – Nolan Daugherty
Gregory – Kyarah Love