"Romeo and Juliet" - by William Shakespeare - Actors' Shakespeare Project (Boston, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: Evan Taylor as "Romeo" embraces Chloe McFarlane as "Juliet" in a scene from William Shakespeare's "ROMEO AND JULIET" presented bActor's Shakespeare Project at the BCA in Boston, MA. now playing through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea. My love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” 

                                          - ("Juliet") / William Shakespeare

Actors' Shakespeare Project


William Shakespeare's 


Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Marianna Bassham

Cast Includes: Esme Allen* as "Lady Capulet," Fernando Barbosa as "Friar Laurence/Ensemble," Michael Broadhurst* as "Mercutio/Ensemble," Peter DiMaggio as "Paris/Ensemble," Christopher V. Edwards as "Lord Capulet," Jesse Hinson* as "Apothecary/Ensemble," Chloe McFarlane as "Juliet," Paula Plum* as "Nurse," Sandra Seoane-Seri as "Tybalt," Jules Talbot as "Prince/Ensemble," Evan Taylor as "Romeo," Nicolas Zuluaga as "Benvolio" 

Additional Creative Team:

Assistant  Director - Regine Vitale; Assistant Stage Manager - Jolie Frazer*; Movement Choreography - Ilya Vidrin; Lighting Design - Deb Sullivan; Assistant Lighting Designer - Clem Moakley; Wardrobe Supervisor - Marissa Wolf; Production Stage Manager - Lisette Van Den Boogaard; Costume Design - Lisa Coleman; Props Design/Associate Production Manager - Grey Rung; Technical Director - Andrew Chandler; Scenic Design - Saskia Martínez; Sound Designer/Musician - Jesse Hinson*; Intimacy Director - Olivia Dumaine; Technical Director - James Cannon..

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States  


May 10, 2024 through June 2, 2024 

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

Roberts Studio Theater, Calderwood / BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116 

Tickets for all performances are $59.50, with an allotment of $20 tickets released for the week’s performances on the Monday of that week, subject to availability. 

Student tickets are $25, available for any patron ages 25 and under. 

Memberships are available starting at $210. For more information, visit www.ActorsShakespeareProject.org 


Phone # 617-241-2200



Please consult directly with venue for latest COVID-19 and any other health and safety protocols.

The latest offering from Actors' Shakespeare Project (ASP) is the immortal tale of two doomed and extremely mortal lovers, "ROMEO AND JULIET," now at the BCA in Boston and is inventive, engaging and absolutely beautiful.

From sets to costumes, lighting to sound, staging to performances, all the combined production elements makes this a production that is vibrant from the outset and deserves high praise, indeed.

That praise aside, if you are among those who consider "ROMEO AND JULIET" one of Shakespeare's weaker plays, particularly because its two title protagonists are so vapid, immature and whiny, trust me, you are not alone. 

It is quite possible Shakespeare himself loathed the two imperiled characters and, perhaps, young people in general. 

Supposedly, the plot is based on an Italian tale by Matteo Bandello and translated into verse as "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet" by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in "Palace of Pleasure" by William Painter in 1567

I often get the sense, though, (and this is pure speculation, by the way) that the Bard was seated in a tavern somewhere when he overheard the story of two young lovers killing themselves and thought to himself, "well, gee - that seems a bit extreme...even for me."

Whatever the true origin story of "ROMEO AND JULIET," Shakespeare wove, fluffed and folded and nurtured the premise into that which most have come to know today, nearly 430 years later.

When people speak of the ultimate love stories, oft times the conversation will come back around to "ROMEO AND JULIET."  

In this latest insightful staging by ASP, the focus is not only on the lovers, the lens has also been widened to include the entire "two households" in Verona, Italy (as heralded at the outset by Jules Talbot playing the Prince, effortlessly transitioning into other characters).

If one considers a different premise here, though, for a moment: 

The play actually can be seen as a metaphor of how extinction arises as a result of our own arrogance. 

(Photo: Michael Broadhurst as "Mercutio," Evan Taylor as "Romeo" and Nicolas Zuluaga as "Benvolio" in a scene from William Shakespeare's "ROMEO AND JULIET" presented bActor's Shakespeare Project at the BCA in Boston, MA. now playing through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography)

Lord and Lady Capulet (played brilliantly animated by Christopher V. Edwards and Esme Allen) have secured a husband, Paris (Peter DiMaggio), for young daughter, Juliet (Chloe McFarlane) to ensure the advancement of their line.

Edwards and Allen are thoroughly captivating in their roles as the self-absorbed parents who perceive their teenage daughter more as a prop than as a human being. 

Allen, especially, brings a completely new, fun and elevated take to the role of Lady Capulet, yielding in some unexpectedly hilarious moments during an otherwise and traditionally unfunny saga.

The Capulets hold a party where Juliet accidentally encounters recently dumped Romeo (Evan Taylor) and instantly their fates (in fact, ALL fates), are sealed.

(Photo: Paula Plum as the "Nurse" comforts Chloe McFarlane as "Juliet" in a scene from William Shakespeare's "ROMEO AND JULIET" presented bActor's Shakespeare Project at the BCA in Boston, MA. now playing through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography)

Romeo is from the feuding house of Montague.

With best friend, Mercutio (Michael Broadhurst) and Romeo's cousin, Benvolio (Nicolas Zuluaga), the trio have crashed the Capulet party in effort to cheer up Romeo.

Romeo is in utter torment having just lost his girlfriend "Rosaline" (who becomes instantly forgotten as soon as Romeo meets Juliet - yeah, that was quick).

Both Broadhurst and Zuluaga are marvelous as the supportive friends of Romeo but soon learn their allegiance to him is fatal.

Both Taylor and McFarlane are fine in their respective title roles (for those of a certain age, in 90s terminology, they actually give off a kind of "Brandy meets Ricky Schroeder" vibe).

In his text, however, the Bard has seemingly used them as a catalyst of more tragic events rather than being the event.

As to the text, director Marianna Bassham has staged a visceral, colorful production with a quickened pacing that keeps things from falling into the overly maudlin.

(Photo: Christopher V. Edwards as "Lord Capulet" sits with Esme Allen as "Lady Capulet" in a scene from William Shakespeare's "ROMEO AND JULIET" presented bActor's Shakespeare Project at the BCA in Boston, MA. now playing through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography)

It cannot be overstated how the incorporated use of original background music performed by Jesse Hinson as the "Apothecary" and various other characters impressively heightens the various moods in the show.

The inspired use of colors - beige("-ish") for the members of the house of Capulet and black for those from the house of Montague - set against a backdrop of dark pink closely resembling a bloodbath, which is what is coming. 

As a result of their defiance of societal rules, especially those handed down by Juliet's parents, the duo travel down a road that comes to a dead end...for nearly everyone.

Among the collateral damage is Juliet's cousin, Tybalt (dynamically played by Sandra Seoane-Seri) and her intended fiancé, Paris.

(Photo: Evan Taylor as "Romeo" embraces Chloe McFarlane as "Juliet" in a scene from William Shakespeare's "ROMEO AND JULIET" presented bActor's Shakespeare Project at the BCA in Boston, MA. now playing through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography)

In an impressively staged sequence, Friar Lawrence (Fernando Barbosa) advises Romeo to temper his extreme passion for Juliet, as does the compassionate Nurse (Paula Plum) to Juliet.

Barbosa and Plum are simply superb as the secretly married lovers' only true allies, yet warn that their hasty marriage might ultimately lead to tragedy if not handled carefully, and tragedy is looming on the horizon.  

One of the lovers ponders their mortality by comparing the poison consumed as like being a doomed captain running his ship onto the rocks.

As the end nears, it is the obtuse arrogance by the parents who have doomed their family lines to annihilation by trying to "hedge their bets" using their children to further their own legacies.

"Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall." 

Slowly or in a rush, however you get there, make haste and see this fabulous ASP production before it departs.

Up next at ASP will be "EMMA" by Kate Hamill beginning in November/December, 2024.

For tickets or more information, phone # 617-241-2200


Approximately two hours, 30 minutes with one intermission.  

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)




ASP closes its 20th Season at the Roberts Studio Theater with Shakespeare’s most-known tragedy: "ROMEO AND JULIET." 

Directed by Resident Acting Company member Marianna Bassham, this amazing cast will tackle the famed star-crossed lovers and feuding households with ASP’s signature verve and style.

Two Households. Star-Crossed Lovers. Violent Delights. All Done ASP-style. 

Actors’ Shakespeare Project finishes off its 2023-24 Season with a classic that hasn’t graced its mainstage in over a decade: "ROMEO AND JULIET." 

Shakespeare’s most famous duo return in a flurry of forbidden love, exhilarating fight scenes, and (spoiler alert) tragic fate. 

Brought to life by Resident Acting Company Member Marianna Bassham’s expert direction, this dynamic and vivid take on "ROMEO AND JULIET" will thrill even those who fell asleep reading it in Sophomore English class. 

ASP will be working with Boston-area youth and teachers during this production to explore the themes of youth violence and alienation in the play, and how they can still ring true in 2024.


ACTORS' SHAKESPEARE PROJECT (ASP), founded in 2004, is an award­-winning professional theater company with a Resident Acting Company and extensive education, youth, and community programs. ASP performs and works in found spaces, schools, theaters and neighborhoods to present and explore the robust language, resonant stories, and deeply human characters in Shakespeare’s plays and in works by other great playwrights. Work is ensemble-­based and focused on intimacy, storytelling, language, relationships, voice, risk and artistry within and throughout the Boston area. 


ACTORS' SHAKESPEARE PROJECT believes Shakespeare’s words are urgently relevant to our times. Working as an ensemble of resident company members, ASP brings these words into the voices, bodies, and imaginations of actors, audiences, and neighborhoods. ASP does this through creative projects, including intimate productions and outreach programs that are informed by the spaces in which they happen. These projects inspire civic dialogue, build relationships between people, strengthen communities, and reveal something about what it means to be human here and now. 


442 Bunker Hill Street

Charlestown, MA 02129

Phone # 617-241-2200