The Blue and White

The Student News Site of Abington Friends School

The Blue and White

The Blue and White

Romance, Drama, and Jazz at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter’s Romeo and Juliet.

Cappies Review

Abounding with joy, passion, and despair, The Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School’s (PALCS) jazzed-up take on Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet was absolutely captivating.

One of English poet and playwright William Shakespeare’s most famous works, Romeo and Juliet is a tragic tale of forbidden romance, originally set in the city of Verona. Instantly, as Romeo, a member of the Capulet family, encounters Juliet, a Montague, at a ball, the two fall for each other. With their families at war, the young couple desperately tries to stay together while conflict rages around them.

PALCS took Shakespeare’s original story and added a different and refreshing flair. Setting their adaptation in 1950s New Orleans, PALCS leaned into a Mardi Gras theme as their jazz band spectacularly soundtracked this unique performance.

Overall, the performers brought outstanding energy, fitting the show perfectly. Kicking off with a breathtaking vocal performance by singer Nathanael Barlow, PALCS never held back. Subtle details like faceoffs between rival family members during scene changes and shaking hands on blades also highlighted the incredible level of care and thoughtfulness put into every aspect of the production.

PALCS’s star-crossed lovers shone especially bright, combining fantastic chemistry– demonstrated in the famous balcony scene–with moments of individual brilliance. Zane Zangwill, as Romeo, brought a wonderful flow, handling complex language smoothly and coming across as a natural fit for the role. One of the standout performers of the night was Natalie Reitmeyer, spellbinding as Juliet. Reitmeyer displayed an astounding range of emotion through the slightest facial expressions and the most resounding, sorrowful screams.  With a commanding stage presence, she paired youthful exuberance with talent far beyond her years, magnificently bringing the show to life. 

Another crucial element of the show was its supporting characters who phenomenally matched the leads’ energy. Josephine Hughes served as a comforting maternal figure for Juliet as the Nurse, at times a much-needed comedic relief with dramatic expressions and hilariously drawn-out explanations. Dylan Bail was just as lively and amusing as Mercutio, almost dancing around the stage while demonstrating profound emotional depth as things took a turn for the worse. Unique to this performance was the Storyville Collective Jazz Band, sensational throughout and fronted by the supremely talented Nathanael Barlow and Brenna Harmon.

With student dance and fight choreography and musical creativity on full display (students rewrote three different songs to fit the Louisianan theme), there was certainly no lack of student initiative behind the scenes. On top of that, Megan Grandizio’s light design did just enough to illuminate the colorful New Orleans backdrop that suited the production perfectly.

Innovative, heartfelt, and bursting with life, Romeo and Juliet was simply unforgettable. A sweet sorrow to part with.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Blue and White Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *