Orlando Bloom is going to make his debut on Broadway. The Legolas of "Lord of the Rings" movie series is officially cast as the male lead in a new stage adaptation of classic romance "Romeo and Juliet". Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad will be his Juliet.
The play is set to be directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux. Two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell is tapped to star as the Nurse and Tony Award nominee Joe Morton is going to be Lord Capulet. Other stars joining the A-team will be announced later.
Leveaux said it was not his intention to portray the star-crossed lovers as an interracial couple. The decision to pair Bloom and Rashad was solely based on their chemistry on stage, the director said. "They could have been any number of different ethnicities," he explained. "The two actors I wanted to be together producing sparks just happened to be those two."
The casting of the lead characters led Leveaux to portray the Capulets, Juliet's family, as an all-black clan and the Montagues, Romeo's family, as an all-white. The director insisted he was only being logic and never meant to make a social or political statement.
"I'm not about to turn a contemporary version of Shakespeare into a sociological or political point," he uttered. "We know there are families from one background or another who would reject their children getting together with someone from another group. Romeo and Juliet reject that notion."
This production will mark the first time in 36 years that "Romeo and Juliet" is brought to Broadway. The last time the fabled story was produced for Broadway was in 1977 for Circle in the Square production featuring Paul Ryan Rudd and Pamela Payton-Wright.
Revolving around the two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families, the play set in modern time will start viewing September 19 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre after preview performances beginning August 24.