Orlando Bloom is back to acting this year with a Broadway production of Romeo & Juliet, directed by David Leveaux. Bloom will star as Romeo opposite Condola Rashad, who will play Juliet. In Leveaux’s version of the play, the doomed star-crossed lovers will be an interracial couple—but not because the director was on a mission to do so.
Leveaux chose Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad because together they were “producing sparks,” and he followed his gut in making the decision to cast them together. “They could have been any number of different ethnicities,” he said.
“I’m not about to turn a contemporary version of Shakespeare into a sociological or political point,” Leveaux said. He also says his choice to cast the entire Capulet family as an all-black and the Montagues as all white was less a comment on race and more a reflection of reality.
“We know there are families from one background or another who would reject their children getting together with someone from another group. Romeo and Juliet reject that notion. It is still the case that children try to oppose the cultural expectation thrust upon them, the rigidity of tribes, the rigidity of fundamentalism.”
Bloom’s first stage debut was in 2007 in London’s Duke of York Theater, where he played a lead role in David Storey’s drama, In Celebration. Rashad was recently nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway show Stick Fly. She also received a Theatre World Award for her debut performance in the off-Braodway production of Ruined.
Romeo & Juliet will begin previews on August 24th and will open on September 19th at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City. Other cast members that have been announced include Jayne Houdyshell (Nurse) and Joe Morton (Lord Capulet), with additional announcements promised.