American Shakespeare Center to present performance of "Romeo and Juliet" October 18, 2016, at UAlbany

Play has a special relevance for today's audiences

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Josh Clark and Zoe Speas in American Shakespeare Center's production of "Romeo and Juliet"

ALBANY, NY (10/03/2016)(readMedia)-- American Shakespeare Center's production of Romeo and Juliet will be presented in classic Shakespearian style with actors playing multiple roles and surrounded by the audience on three sides, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 in the Main Theatre of the Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany's uptown campus. Live pre-performance music begins at 7:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Performing Arts Center and the New York State Writers Institute. Advance ticket prices are $15 general public; $10 students, seniors & faculty/staff. Day of show tickets are $20 general public; and $15 students, seniors & faculty/staff. Box Office: (518) 442-3997;

With ravishing language Shakespeare celebrated love's triumphs and its trivialities in perhaps his most popular tragedy. The play explores the volatility of youth as well as the wisdom and restraint that often escape young and old alike. Presented in classic Shakespearean style, American Shakespeare Center's production features dance and thumb-biting swordplay as well as sonnets, bawdy wit, and soul-searching speeches.

American Shakespeare Center's production is presented in classic Shakespearian style with actors playing multiple roles and surrounded by audience on three sides. Live music is a distinctive component of the American Shakespeare Center's productions. Pre-performance music starts at 7:00 p.m. There is also a 15-minute performance during intermission. Though inspired by Shakespeare's use of a musical "soundtrack" for his plays, the Center sets Shakespeare's lyrics to contemporary styles of music in order to connect with modern audiences.

In his "Director's Notes" for Romeo and Juliet director Benjamin Curns explains the special relevance of Shakespeare's tragedy for today's audiences. He says:

"Does the world really need another production of Romeo & Juliet? Sadly, it does. In fact, it is the Shakespeare play that America needs the most.

Shakespeare's Verona, like our own country, is rife with division: division between families, genders, classes, etc., and also like our own country, it is brimming with violence. All three families suffer the loss of loved ones throughout the course of the play but unlike our country, the city of Verona learns something from it. The loss of our titular heroes, ..., changes the way their families think and act. Their shared loss creates a new greatest hope for this production is that our audiences will see that while violence has dire consequences for those who perpetrate such acts, and harrowing effects on those who survive them, we can, and indeed must, as Romeo does, defy the stars. We are not doomed or fated to this violence and division. We can, as Montague and Capulet do, bury our strife .... and show that 'here is much to do with hate but more with love.'"

Based in Staunton, Virginia, the American Shakespeare Center's mission is to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.

The play is presented by the Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the New York State Writers Institute. Support is also provided by UAlbany's English Department and University Auxiliary Services.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at