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PA Leadership Charter School’s Romeo and Juliet: A Tale between Star Crossed Lovers

Cappies Review

An intimate setting and sweet sounds of jazz beautifully set the scene; a raw tale of love and death, this time with a 1950s New Orleans twist. PA Leadership Charter School impressively embodied the story of Romeo and Juliet with creativity, passion, and talent. 

Romeo and Juliet follows two young heirs of powerful families in Verona, separated by hate and rivalry, but bound to each other by love, even until their death. The classic Shakespearean tale has been interpreted in a million different ways since its creation and has been relevant through all points in history because of its universal themes of power, hate, and love. 

With a soulful New Orleans twist, PA Leadership Charter School breathtakingly braved its production of Romeo and Juliet. This production brought to life words of centuries past, with effective communication through intentional body language, creative and fervent music compositions, and inventive use of technology and space. The passion and love for theater were obvious, as the cast and crew brought so much energy to their roles and the grander story. 

Transforming a single line into an entire story through a slight micro-expression, or echoing raw bursts of pure emotional devastation, Natalie Reitmeyer displayed an unimaginable command and understanding of Juliet as a character. Making several critical choices about the portrayal of Juliet, such as leaning into her innocence and love, Reitmeyer strikingly embodied Juliet and elevated the entire production with abandon. 

The cast of Romeo and Juliet was integral to the fabric of this production. Most memorably, Josephine Hughes impressively demonstrated a wide range of emotion, depth, and talent in her acting. By displaying her genuine love and care for Juliet, while also adding hilarious comedic timing to a role that was not specifically meant to be humorous, Hughes demonstrated undeniable talent and dedication to her role. 

Meanwhile, on the “enemy” side, Dylan Bail, playing Romeo’s right-hand man Mercutio put on a crowd-pleasing performance, furthering the story through sadness and laughter. Despite the complexity of Shakespearean writing, Bail’s body language, tone, and facial expressions, all told a story even when the words made no sense. 

PA Leadership Charter School’s production of Romeo and Juliet had a core element of undeniable creativity throughout. Despite the small space available to them, details such as projector screens proved to be a truly unique and brilliant approach to signifying changes in the story’s setting. 

While there was a slightly distracting malfunction at one point during the production, the issue was swiftly addressed and did not take much away from the overall performance. The musical aspect of this production was ingenious and crucial to the show. 

Nathanael Barlow blew the house down with his impressive vocals, and the Storyville Collective Jazz Band embodied the New Orleans setting by rearranging songs into jazz compositions that perfectly fit the atmosphere of the show. 

The flair, ingenuity, and relentless passion demonstrated at PA Leadership Charter School’s production of Romeo and Juliet reverberated the lessons of the classic tale with a memorable New Orleans twang.

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