In 1593, a particularly powerful outbreak of bubonic plague struck England, causing the closure of theaters for 14 months. Instead of leaving London for safer pastures, Shakespeare stayed and wrote. And one of the plays Shakespeare likely wrote during this time was Romeo and Juliet, so it's very likely that one of the first Shakespeare plays performed after those 14 plague months was Romeo and Juliet. History has a funny way of repeating itself.
There's a little saying (I suppose you would call it) that some cynics like to spout about this play: "Romeo and Juliet isn't a love story". And to those people I say: you're absolutely correct. This play isn't a love story. In fact, the full title is The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Yes, there is a love story within the play, but because it's a tragedy there's something more that we should be taking away, and Shakespeare gives it to us right there in the prologue: "Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife." Most times, it takes a great tragedy or loss for the world to wake up and make change happen. Art certainly does reflect life, doesn't it?
My grad school professor once said, "is it fair to cheapen the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to something as trivial as poor timing and miscommunication, or is the real tragedy the fact that both view death as a better alternative than living in the toxic world their families created?"
Shakespeare's plays aren't timeless -- they're for all time. There's a reason why Romeo and Juliet has endured for over 400 years. We can still laugh, we can still mourn, and we can still learn. I hope you do just that at our production today.
Cast & Crew
BAILEE HARPER (Romeo) is extremely excited to be performing on a stage in Green Bay again. This role and show has challenged him after his fresh graduation from UW Stevens Point with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. He is ever so grateful for the opportunity to play such an iconic role, and he hopes you enjoy the final product as much as he’s enjoyed the process. He’d like to thank his family and friends for their continuous support- enjoy the show!
HALEY EBINAL (Juliet) is a Milwaukee-based stage/film actor and violinist who believes empathetic, community-building storytelling is the most effective remedy for isolation, harmful assumptions, and disappearing histories. Recent roles include Paige in Belles (virtual, Play-By-Play), Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest (virtual, Voices Found Repertory), Nym/Orleans in Henry V (Voices Found Repertory), and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Play-By-Play). When she’s not acting, Haley enjoys writing, yoga, and making music. You can follow Haley’s latest projects on IG @haleyebinal. Haley is delighted to be in another Play-By-Play production, and hopes you enjoy the show!
BRIAN BAILEY (Lord Capulet)
LUCAS BRUNETTE (Prince Escalus) is so excited to be back on stage playing Prince Escalus in Romeo & Juliet! Lucas is currently in his second semester at NWTC pursuing a business management degree. He would like to thank his family for always being so supportive!
ANDREW DERDENA (Abraham)
EMMA FOLEY (Balthasar)will be a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha in the fall. She is double majoring in communication and theatre with an emphasis in acting and directing. This is her second show with Play-by-Play Theatre as she played the roles of Curtis and Widow last year in the Taming of the Shrew. She would like to thank her friends, and family for their constant support.
SANIBEL HARPER (Gregory/Apothecary)
EMILY HOLLAND (Mercutio) is thrilled to be back with PbP this summer. Last year, Emily played Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, and she spent the summer before last in Bailey’s Harbor with the acting company of Door Shakespeare, performing in Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor for a three month run. She is a rising senior Musical Theatre major and Dance minor at UWSP. Thank you for supporting Theatre in the Park! Xoxo. www.emilynicoleholland.com
HANNA LINDSAY JORGENSEN (Lady Capulet)
NICK KRAMER (Servingman/Friar John)
MICHAEL J. LASKOWSKI (Lord Montague) couldn’t be more honored to be performing in Shakespere’s immortal love story Romeo and Juliet, and he thanks Play-by-Play Theatre for the opportunity! Michael holds a BA in Theatre Arts from UW-Oshkosh and began performing at the age of 10. Some notable stage credits include Ben in Moonlight and Magnolias, Howard in Moon Over Buffalo, and Robert in Boeing, Boeing. Michael has also directed several productions all over the NE Wisconsin area and is also the founder/artistic director of Vintage Theatre currently located in Oshkosh, WI.
WIL MANNION (Paris)
GRACE SERGOTT (Benvolio)
TERESA APORTELA SERGOTT (Nurse) Romeo and Juliet is Teresa's third show with Play-by-Play. Last summer she portrayed Baptista in Taming of the Shrew, and the year before, played Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream. She has also performed with Theatre Z in Kayak(Annie), Sordid Lives (LaVonda), Other Desert Cities(Brooke), Blackbird’s Garden (Eliza), as well as shows with Evergreen Theatre. Directing credits include: International Stud, The Santaland Diaries, Incorruptible, andGet Smart. Teresa would like to thank PbP for the opportunity to be in this show and her family for their continued support. She dedicates this performance to her mother, Gladys.
COLLAN SIMMONS (Tybalt) is an actor from the Twin Cities area, and is excited to be making his debut in his first Play-By-Play theatre production. He recently graduated with a BFA in Acting from UW-Stevens Point, and plans on continuing his acting career in Atlanta, Georgia come September. Instagram: @collan_simmons
JOEY UMENTUM (Sampson)
RACHEL ZIOLKOWSI (Friar Lawrence) is very happy to be in her third pandemic production with Play-by-Play, having portrayed Grumio in last summer's The Taming of the Shrew and Roseanne in this spring's virtual production of Belles. Rachel is a local music teacher and thanks you for supporting the arts!
ELIZABETH JOLLY (Stage Manager) hails from Abrams, WI. In 2015, she completed the American Academy of Dramatic Art's 2-year conservatory program. She graduated from St. Norbert College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Studies and Classical Studies. Recent Play-by-Play credits include Words Words Words (Kafka) and Stage Manager for Belles, The Taming of the Shrew, and Theatre in the Park’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Stage Manager). She would like to thank her family family (Debramom and Daviddad) and her larger theater family for supporting this true community collaboration. "Enjoy the show!"
MARIA MILLER (Assistant Director) is a student and cake decorator in De Pere, Wisconsin. She has performed and volunteered with many local theatre companies/studios assuming roles in cast, crew, pit, directing, and choreography. Her favorite productions include The Dance Company’s Beauty and the Beast (LeFou), Calvary Players’ Joseph...Dreamcoat (Wife/Ensemble), SNC Summer Stage’s Singin’ in the Rain (Build Crew/Fly Rails), as well as Studio 12’s Twelfth Night (Malvolio/Captain) and The Comedy of Errors (Angelo/Dr. Pinch). She would like to thank Carolyn for growing her love and knowledge of Shakespeare and her family for supporting her crazy passion for theatre.
MAGGIE SERGOTT (Assistant Stage Manager)
CAROLYN SILVERBERG (Director)Carolyn’s love of Shakespeare began when she played Lady Macbeth waaay back in 5th grade. She earned her MA in Shakespeare from Royal Holloway University of London, where she also appeared in Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, and her BA in Theatre Studies from St. Norbert College. Recent directing credits: Words Words Words, The Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Play-by-Play Theatre); The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night (Studio 12). For Dad, always. carolynsilverberg.com
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Playwright) was a renowned English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. His birthday is most commonly celebrated on April 23rd which is also believed to be the date he died in 1616. Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre. Shakespeare's work includes 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems.
Shakespeare’s legacy is as rich and diverse as his work; his plays have spawned countless adaptations across multiple genres and cultures. His plays have had an enduring presence on stage and film. William Shakespeare continues to be one of the most important literary figures of the English language.
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In the streets of Verona, another brawl breaks out between the servants of the feuding noble families of Capulet and Montague. The Prince Escalus decrees that the next member of either family to provoke a fight will be put to death.
Romeo Montague runs into his cousin Benvolio. After some prodding by Benvolio, Romeo confides that he is in love with Rosaline, a woman who does not return his affections. Benvolio counsels him to forget this woman and find another, more beautiful one.
Meanwhile, Paris, a kinsman of the Prince, seeks Juliet Capulet’s hand in marriage. Her father, though happy at the match, asks Paris to wait a few more years. Capulet gives his servant a list of people to invite to their annual party. Romeo and Benvolio encounter the Capulet servant. Benvolio suggests that they attend, since that will allow Romeo to compare his beloved to other beautiful women of Verona. Romeo agrees to go with Benvolio to the feast, but only because Rosaline, whose name he reads on the list, will be there.
In Capulet’s household, Juliet talks with her mother, Lady Capulet, and her Nurse about the possibility of marrying Paris. Juliet has not yet considered marriage, but agrees to look at Paris during the feast to see if she thinks she could fall in love with him.
On their way to the Capulet party, Romeo's friend Mercutio taunts him about the ridiculousness of dreams and love. The group enter the Capulet house, and once inside Romeo sees Juliet from a distance and instantly falls in love with her, and she with him. In only a moment's time they discover each other's identities and realize their love is forbidden.
As Mercutio and Benvolio leave the Capulet estate, Romeo leaps over the orchard wall into the garden, unable to leave Juliet behind. From his hiding place, he sees Juliet in a window above the orchard. He calls out to her, and they exchange vows of love.
The next morning, Romeo hurries to see his friend and confessor Friar Lawrence, who, though shocked at the sudden turn of Romeo’s heart, agrees to marry the young lovers in secret since he sees in their love the possibility of ending the age-old feud between Capulet and Montague. Juliet enlists the help of her Nurse, and that very afternoon Romeo and Juliet are married by Friar Lawrence in secret.
The next day, Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt—Juliet’s cousin—who, enraged that Romeo attended Capulet’s feast, has challenged Romeo to a duel. Now Tybalt’s kinsman by marriage, Romeo appears and begs Tybalt to hold off the duel. Disgusted with this plea for peace, Mercutio says that he will fight Tybalt himself. The two begin to duel. Romeo tries to stop them by leaping between them, but as he does so Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo’s arm, and Mercutio dies. Romeo, in a rage, kills Tybalt. Romeo flees from the scene, and soon after the Prince declares him banished to Mantua for his crime.
Juliet learns of the news that her husband as killed her cousin. Friar Lawrence informs Romeo of his banishment. He and the Nurse arrange for Romeo to spend his wedding night with Juliet before he has to leave for Mantua the following morning. Unaware of her marriage to Romeo, Juliet's parents set about arranging her marriage to Paris, hoping to bring joy to the family in the wake of losing Tybalt. Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s room that night, and at last they consummate their marriage and their love.
Morning comes, and the lovers bid farewell. Juliet learns that her father now intends for her to marry Paris in just three days. Juliet asks her nurse for advice, who counsels Juliet to proceed as if Romeo were dead and to marry Paris. Disgusted with the Nurse’s disloyalty, Juliet disregards her advice and hurries to Friar Lawrence. He concocts a plan to reunite Juliet with Romeo in Mantua. The night before her wedding to Paris, Juliet must drink a potion that will make her appear to be dead for two days. After she is laid to rest in the family’s crypt, the Friar and Romeo will secretly retrieve her, and she will be free to live with Romeo, away from their parents’ feuding.
Juliet returns home where it is revealed the wedding will be moved up a day. That night, Juliet drinks the potion, and the Nurse discovers her, apparently dead, the next morning. The Capulets grieve, and Juliet is entombed according to plan. But Friar Lawrence’s message explaining the plan to Romeo never reaches Mantua. Its bearer, Friar John, gets confined to a quarantined house. Romeo hears only that Juliet is dead.
Distraught with grief, Romeo purchases poison and hurries back to Verona. In the Capulet tomb, Romeo is confronted by Paris, and, in the ensuing fight, kills him. Romeo finds his apparently dead wife, drinks the poison, and dies by her side. Just then, Friar Lawrence enters and at the same time Juliet awakes. Friar Lawrence hears the coming of the watch. When Juliet refuses to leave with him, he flees alone. Juliet sees her beloved Romeo dead, and she soon stabs herself with his dagger, falling dead upon his body.
The feuding families arrive at the vault to find their children dead. They realize, too late, what their hatred has caused and vow to end the feud. The Prince observes that because of their foolish hatred, “all are punished."