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Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Shakespeare Favorite Comes to Delaware City: ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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Kevin Austra
Kevin Austra
Kevin Austra is an actor, writer, and director, based out of Delaware City.

The Gina Velardi as Juliet and Gunnar Funk as Romeo in the Reedy Point Players’ “Romeo + Juliet”

For the first time in their 17-year-history, Delaware City’s Reedy Point Players are bringing a William Shakespeare production to their stage. The company kicks off its 2018-2019 season with perhaps Shakespeare’s best-known play Romeo + Juliet, directed by Erin Miller, and adapted by Kevin Austra.

After her award-winning production of The Outsiders, Ms. Miller returns to direct after a four-year absence. “I have always loved this story, and I have been talking about directing this show for years! I’m so excited that I am finally able to bring this show to life and to add my own interpretation to it,” said Miller.

The story about two young star-crossed lovers and the tragedies that beset their relationship is an enduring one.

This staging of Romeo + Juliet has been modernized for today’s audience to provide a fresh look on the storyline. Instead of Verona 1500’s, the storyline takes place in New York City in 2018. The honorable Prince Escalus, has been modified to the Honorable Mayor of New York. The character of the Nurse (an audience favorite) has been given a name, Angelica.

Additionally, the beloved balcony sequence between Romeo and Juliet is now a fire escape in an alleyway. Gina Velardi (playing the coveted role, Juliet) adds “I just feel it’s different and it adds new levels to the show!” Although some changes have been made to accommodate the modern setting, the production will retain the Shakespearian language.

One might wonder why William Shakespeare, who died over 400 years ago, is still popular amongst audience today. Gunnar Funk (leading man, Romeo) says, “They are the originals. So many movies and television shows today all spiral from a Shakespeare play if you look closely enough..”

Kevin Austra as Mercutio

After only 8 weeks of rehearsals, Romeo + Juliet will open on Friday, August 24 at 8 pm. Additional performances are August 25, 31, Sept. 1 at 8 pm and August 26 at 2 pm at the Delaware City Community Center, 250 Fifth Street, Delaware City, DE 19706. Tickets are $5 (10 and under), $10 (senior/student), $12 (adult). Cash only for tickets purchased at the box office.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at: https:// reedypointplayers.ticketleap.com/romeoandjuliet/ Please be advised, due to simulated violence and suggestive language, this production may not be appropriate for children.

Romeo + Juliet features the acting talents of: Gunnar Funk (Romeo Montague), Gina Velardi (Juliet Capulet), Matthew Lovlie (Father Laurence), Gail Wagner (Angelica), Patrick Ruesgsegger (Lord Capulet), Ruth Brittain (Lady Capulet), Kevin Austra (Mercutio), Jeff Fentress (Benvolio), Max O’Neill (Tybalt), Sam Vernooy (Paris/Gregory), Sam Dressler (Peter/ Sampson), Lisa Coruzzi (Mayor), Ken Guerino (Lord Montague), and Lisa Velardi (Lady Montague).

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