PEMBROKE — Multiple departments on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke are coming together for a one-night-only performance of “Romeo and Juliet.”
The classic drama by William Shakespeare comes to the Givens Performing Art Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s an enormous undertaking,” said Jonathan Drahos, UNCP director of Theatre.
The production of “Romeo and Juliet” is a first for GPAC. It is an artist-in-residence production incorporating a professional cast. Lindsay Pearce, who plays Juliet, has appeared in the hit TV shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Glee,” and in numerous film and stage productions.
“Honestly, I think the students are the best part of the show,” Pearce said. “You see them take home notes that the professional actors get and apply it to their own performances.”
James Bass, GPAC director, is excited about the collaboration.
“University Theatre Director Jonathan Drahos and I brought our resources together to do something that would benefit our GPAC audience as well as our students,” Bass said.
Professional actors from Los Angeles and New York will star in the key roles, Bass said. They also worked with University Theatre students to provide them with a professional experience while filling secondary roles.
“In acting, you learn by doing, but you also learn by observing,” Drahos said.
The Theatre, Art and Music departments are collaborating in the production.
The Music Department will perform throughout the play, and the Art Department designed the set and show poster.
“I want to congratulate Khalid Alshishani for having his final design selected. A job well done. All of my students did a great job and I hope they enjoy seeing the play as much as they liked working on the project,” said Margie Labadie, an Arts Department professor.
Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, considered to be one of the most famous love stories of all time, finds star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet caught in a feud between the Montague and the Capulet families and in a secret marriage that ends in despair. The play will be performed at GPAC with a 1950s themed setting.
“It’s the ultimate love story. I think it resonates with the time,” Drahos said.
One of our goals is to make the complex language accessible to the audience, Drahos said. He also wants audience members to see not just a tragedy, but a comedy also.
“I would love for the audience to not be afraid to laugh,” he said. “We had a lot of fun with some of the characters.”
“Romeo and Juliet” is one of several performances being held in conjunction with the Act I Diner’s Club. Themed meals will be available for an extra charge, and will be served in the Chancellor’s Dining Room before performances in GPAC. Tickets are $26 and $21 for adults, and $5 for children and students.
Call the GPAC box office at 910-521-6361 for information. Visit www.uncp.edu/gpac to see the full list of shows coming this season or call 910-521-6361.
Reach Tomeka Sinclair at 910-416-5865