The Vets Heats Up with Romeo and Juliet

Drama, dance and sword fights: Festival Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, a collaboration with the Gamm Theatre, has all the trappings for a romantic night out.

According to Festival Ballet Providence’s artistic director Mihailo Djuric, “There’s no minute of boredom” in the company’s brand new production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The show, which is onstage for a short run this weekend at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, is choreographed by Ilya Kozadayev and features spoken word direction by Tony Estrella of the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket.

“This is our first collaboration with the Gamm, and that has been beautiful,” Djuric says. “Everyone is getting along and inspiring each other and my dreams are coming true.”

That’s high praise coming from a man who produced Shakespeare’s tragic romance more than a decade earlier. The 2005 Festival Ballet show, which was also staged at the Vets, is vastly different from 2017’s version, he says.

“Every time you do it, even if it’s the same production, you try to tell it better than the first time,” he says. “This has components of the spoken words. Some scenes are told through actors and some scenes are told just through movement.”

Guest artists Richard Noble and Jeanine Kane, regular actors on the Gamm stage, will narrate the production. Dancing as Juliet is Jennifer Ricci, a Festival Ballet company member for twenty-five seasons. In the 2005 production, Ricci danced as Lady Capulet. She’ll alternate the role each night with Vilia Putrius. Romeo will be danced by Boyko Dossev and Alan Alberto on alternating nights, as well.

“It has everything: Happy scenes and sad scenes and dramatic scenes and sword fights and making love and making war,” he says. “It’s about romance and the disappointment that comes from romance. Every little aspect of the production, I love.”

Festival Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet is onstage February 10 to 12 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. Tickets are $23–$85. Visit festivalballetprovidence.org for ticketing information.

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