Adaptations of Romeo and Juliet

  • Women playing Romeo

    Women playing Romeo
    American acting sisters Charlotte and Susan Cushman became famous for playing the title roles of Romeo and Juliet. The image shows them in these roles for the Haymarket in 1845.

    Charlotte, who played Romeo, was one of the most famous women in the English-speaking world, known for playing male characters and strong, androgynous female characters.

    The New York Times wrote: 'It is enough to say that the Romeo of Miss Cushman is far superior to any Romeo we have ever had ... Miss Cushman's Romeo is a creation: a living, breathing, animated, ardent, human being' (12 July 1896).

  • Ballet

    Sergei Prokofiev wrote his ballet version of Shakespeare's play in 1935, for the Kirov Ballet. It premiered in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), in December 1938.

    One of the most popular ballets, Provoviev also adapted the music was as three suites for orchestra and as a piano piece.

    In 1965 choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Royal Ballet production of Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It is this version that was performed at The Royal Ballet this year.

    Lauren Cuthbertson as Juliet and Federico Bonelli as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet 2012, photography by Bill Cooper courtesy of ROH.

  • Romeo and Juliet ballet

    Lauren Cuthbertson as Juliet and Federico Bonelli as Romeo in the ballet of Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet 2012, photography by Bill Cooper courtesy of ROH.

  • Opera

    Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette is a five-act opera with a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. It was first performed in Paris in April 1867.

    The photo shows the Metropolitan Opera's 2007 production, with Roberto Alagna as Romeo and Anna Netrebko as Juliette. Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story
    In the 1957 a completely new conception of Romeo and Juliet was born, when West Side Story opened on Broadway.

    With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the story was set in 1950s New York, with the teenage street gangs the Jets and the Sharks replacing the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo became Tony, a Jet, and Juliet became Maria, sister of the Shark Bernardo.

    Arne Strömgren as Tony and Eva Serning as Maria in West Side Story at Oscarsteatern, Stockholm. Photographer unknown.

  • Noughts and Crosses

    Noughts & Crosses
    Adapted from a novel by Malorie Blackman, this 2007 RSC production was a modern-day tale of star-crossed lovers set in a alternative world where you are either a 'Cross' with dark skin or a 'nought' with white skin, and violence ensues when the two try to mix. Noughts & Crosses aimed to challenge our perceptions of race, power and truth.

    Sephy and Callum are two young people kept apart by bigotry, terrorism and injustice. Sephy is a Prime Minister's daughter from the powerful Crosses who falls for rebel Callum, son of a dangerous nought agitator. Their desire to be together threatens family loyalties and sparks a growing political crisis.

    Sephy (Ony Uhiara) helps Callum (Richard Madden) prepare for his first day at secondary school. Photo by Keith Pattison.

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