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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Shakespeare’s Star-Crossed Lovers Return to the NF Ballet Stage

The Northwest Florida Ballet (NFB), celebrating its 42nd year as the region’s only semi-professional ballet company and school, presents the greatest love story of all time at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on March 31 and April 1.

Choreographed by artistic director and chief operating officer Todd Eric Allen, this moving interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is set to the powerful sounds of Sergei Prokofiev’s famous music and beautifully staged with rich period costumes and scenery.

“The drama and passion of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet provide everything and more for a captivating ballet,” says Allen. “Intimate moments of lyrical beauty between the star-crossed lovers are interwoven with action-packed encounters between the feuding Montagues and Capulets, all making for a thrilling performance.”

Set in 16th century Verona, Romeo and Juliet chronicles the romance of two teenagers from families on opposing sides of a bitter feud. The story is played out against a backdrop of violence and conflict as the two lovers find themselves trapped in a vicious web of circumstance.

Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet first meet at a masked ball, fall headlong in love during a romantic encounter on the girl’s balcony, and secretly wed with the aid of Friar Laurence and Juliet’s nurse. After a bloody confrontation in the marketplace with Tybalt, a relative of Juliet’s, Romeo is banished from Verona.

When Juliet’s parents insist she marry the nobleman Paris, Juliet takes a potion that will give her the appearance of death, but allow her to escape and be reunited with Romeo. The two young lovers are indeed reunited in the devastating climax of the ballet in the Capulet family crypt.

Longtime favorite NFB principal guest artists Ian and Eleanor Carney will portray the tragic lovers, while NFB founder Bernadette Sims will grace the stage as Juliet’s trusted Nurse. Additional international guest artists include Israel Rodriguez as Mercutio, Sean Hilton as Benvolio, J Ryan Carroll as Tybalt, and David Goud as Paris.

Performances are March 31 at 7:30 p.m. and April 1 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12.50 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased online at www.nfballet.org, or call (850) 664-7787.

Romeo and Juliet is sponsored by Hancock Bank. The NFB is funded in part by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.