Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Meet the Cast of Romeo & Juliet

Artes de la Rosa is proud to announce casting for Romeo & Juliet, directed by Artistic Director Adam Adolfo. The world’s most famous story of an impossible ‘star-crossed’ love told against a violent political rebellion in the streets of Havana, 1958, comes to life on the Rose Marine Theater stage. It is a story of desire in a place for pleasure, power, and passion wrapped in the loving words of th...e world’s greatest poet, William Shakespeare... But behind this dazzling world of nightlife, glamour, and romance, the country is fraught with corruption. On the eve of the Castro revolution, you can feel the heat from the winds of Havana. Fall in love with Romeo & Juliet.

Taking the stage in the leading roles of the star crossed lovers are two alumni from Artes de la Rosa’s critically acclaimed production of the Tony Award Winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS. Starring as the poetic and sensitive young lover Romeo is the dashing Kevin Acosta. His counterpart, the strong but often misunderstood romantic Juliet is the beautiful Courtney Harris.

Making their Artes de la Rosa debut is Fort Worth ISD Theatre Teacher Clyde Berry as Father Laurence and Texas Wesleyan University Senior Kristi Taylor as the Nurse.

Returning to the Rose Marine stage for the first time since the inauguration of the American Classics Theater Initiative with the production of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is Adrian Godinez as Mercutio. He is joined by Parker Fitzgerald as Tybalt and Kyle Trentham as the Prince, both most recently seen in ethereal staging of Oscar Romero’s life, THE FIFTH SUN.

Other IN THE HEIGHTS cast members take the stage for this production set in 1958 Havana Cuba including Austin Ray Beck as Benvolio, Rebekah Ruiz as the rarely seen Rosaline, and Michael Alonzo as Balthazar. Many will remember Mr. Alonzo for his soaring vocals as the Piragua Guy in IN THE HEIGHTS, and here he takes the stage again to show us his phenomenal vocal techinique in several special musical numbers that the Production Team are excited to bring to this Shakespeare classic.

Rounding out the cast making their Artes de la Rosa stage debut are Cameron Allsup as the vicious and contestable Abraham, Jacob Harris as the charming and handsome Paris, and Jule Nelson-Duac as the plotting and manipulative Lady Capulet.

Additional casting still to come. Tickets for Romeo & Juliet go on sale Thursday August 1st and will be available online by visiting To celebrate the greatest love story ever told, Artes de la Rosa will be offering a special discount to its patrons who buy their tickets on the first day. On that day ONLY, when you use the promo code TRUELOVE you will receive a $5 discount on each ticket purchased including the gala opening night event.

Artes & Shakespeare: It's about Passion!

I’ve been asked more than once… why Shakespeare for Artes de la Rosa? Well the best answer is that Latinos are a passionate people and Shakespeare was a passionate playwright. Placing them together seems like the most obvious of combinations. So I’ve set out to make the Passion of Shakespeare something everyone can understand! You may think you hate Shakespeare. You may say it’s hard to understand and you may even say its boring. I promise you – You won’t be saying that about THIS PRODUCTION of ROMEO AND JULIET!

“All the world’s a stage,” comes the saying from many theatre artists... Their voice proudly professing their passion and love. I believe to truly find that voice, you have to be silent, still, and open to the inspiration that it brings. Your voice comes from your passion and if you don’t know where your passion comes from, you are without a voice; mute. For me, I found it in the dark. In East Texas. On a hot summer night.

The year was 1999 and I was attending the Texas Shakespeare Festival Acting Workshops in Kilgore Texas. I was headed to school to pursue a degree in theatre arts that fall. I had been active in community theatre and high school theatre, but hadn’t really found my voice in the art or love for it. To be honest, I was pursuing the degree because I was good at it; not because I loved it… the Festival that summer had introduced me to wonderful staging’s of The Miser, The Fantasticks, and Antony and Cleopatra but I still didn’t’ feel like I knew where my voice fit and where my love was? The final production that I saw that summer was Two Gentleman of Verona directed by Tom Whitaker.
I remember sitting in the theatre, in awe and wonder at the parts of the whole… the bare raked stage, the 3 piece jazz band, the lounge singer…the sheer romance of the production, the simple details. The images of that show, 14 years later, still glow in my head. The men’s white suits, the bobbed hair of Michele Tauber who’s character name I could never remember, the long white gown of the ‘lounge singer’ (Sarah Hartmann, whom to this day, I still see in my mind’s eye, poised, statuesque, an icon of 1930’s jazz). But what I remember most about that evening is that for two hours, I didn’t breathe.

I just took it in. The design. The words. The actors. The show. It helped remind me what it’s all about, Love. Love is simple. Love is kind. Love is pure. Nothing ostentatious, nothing sly, just the actors, the language and the audience. At the end of the show, when the cast took the stage to sing the finale “Love Is,” I realized…my eyes were wet. To this day I can’t tell you how long I had been crying, but it had come. I looked at the cast, and there was not a dry eye among them. I fell in love with Shakespeare that evening. I fell in love with the magic of the language and the lyrical poetry executed so stunningly by the cast of brilliant actors. But what is even more special is that I know I was sharing it with a production staff, crew, and cast that loved it as much as I would grow to love it. As the cast raised their voice to sing, I found mine. I fell in love with theatre that night and all the passion that a group of people, both performers and audience alike, could share together – simply because a man named William Shakespeare over two hundreds of years earlier had written a play.

14 years later, I am helming my own Shakespeare shows, running Artes de la Rosa artistic future and yet, still recalling the night Shakespeare gave me a voice. In my time at Stephen F. Austin State University, I learned technique, skill, communication, artistry but not heart. I am grateful to say, I learned that before I got to school. I learned that I must touch you, “the audience”, personally as a human being if I am to succeed as an artist. My hope now is to one day direct a piece that is going to make a teenager fall in love with theatre, the way Mr. Whitaker, made me fall in love with Shakespeare that summer night 14 years ago.

That’s why I think Shakespeare is the next perfect step in the continuing artistic journey for Artes de la Rosa. If it can impact me as a teenager while still being the most produced playwright in history, how can we not provide the opportunity to the Artes de la Rosa patrons to experience that kind of passion? With this special new staging of Romeo and Juliet, I hope to impart to the people of North Texas the inspiration and passion that William Shakespeare gave me that summer of 1999.

In hindsight, that was the moment that defined what I hoped to become…the moment Shakespeare put a voice to my love…it was the moment I chose a life as a theatre person. So when someone asks me what I do in the theatre, I do not tell them I’m a playwright, an administrator, or director, but rather I raise my voice and say, “I’m a Theatre Maker.”

- Adam Adolfo, Artistic Director; Artes de la Rosa

SIDE NOTE: Don’t Forget Tickets go on sale tomorrow! We've got a deal that you'll FALL IN LOVE WITH! To celebrate the greatest love story ever told, Artes de la Rosa will be offering a special discount when you buy your tickets on the first day. On that day ONLY, when you use the promo code TRUELOVE you will receive a $5 discount on each ticket purchased including the gala opening night event.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo's 2,3, & 4 from The 1999 Season production of TWO GENTELMEN OF VERONA at the Texas Shakespeare Festival. Director Tom Whitaker. Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell.