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Romeo and Juliet gets a Jazz Age treatment

photoTheatre UCF’s production of Romeo and Juliet will open on Thursday, February 16 and run through Sunday, February 26. The Shakespeare classic will be set in the 1930’s, and tell the tale of star-crossed lovers whose families clash in their fight to achieve the American Dream.

The prohibition-era setting depicts racial tension in the shady business of speakeasies where people of all races sought to turn a profit and better their lives.

Director Belinda Boyd says of the setting, “I love the decades that introduced jazz into our culture - Jazz gave us a new perspective on life. Jazz clubs gave us place where for the first time different cultures and races mixed socially. Jazz created a new rhythm for our writers and produced prolific literature that changed how we saw ourselves. Jazz gave us permission to be casual and opened the door for conversation in our country.”

Boyd believes the play will speak to all audiences because “The hope that we find undying love is relevant to all of us, [as is] the clash between parental hopes and childhood dreams, the fact that love is stronger than hate, breaking away from tradition or what others deem is right, and following your heart in spite of the consequences.”

Isabella DeChard, a sophomore in the Theatre BFA Acting track, plays the title role of Juliet. She says, “I definitely hope the audience will take something from the show because what really got me into theatre in the first place was seeing shows and taking something from them or seeing a piece that inspired me or taught me a lesson.”

DeChard believes the topics of alcohol in the Prohibition era, women’s roles in the 1930s, and racial tensions will allow the audience to better relate to the classic story of star-crossed lovers.

The show will be performed on Theatre UCF’s Main Stage. On opening night, audience members are invited to join the cast and creative team for a post-show reception.

Tickets are available for $20 for the general public, and $10 for those with a valid UCF ID. They can be purchased online or at the box office.

For more information about Theatre UCF and the UCF School of Performing Arts, visit performingarts.cah.ucf.edu.

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Theatre UCF  •  College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Central Florida
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