Last fall Orlando Bloom made his Broadway debut playing opposite two-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad in “Romeo and Juliet”. This month the production made its debut in movie theaters nationwide as part of Broadway HD. Broadway HD combines the experience of The Great White Way with Hollywood, taking a live production and showing it in a different medium.
Filmed at the end of its Broadway run, “Romeo and Juliet” is playing a limited engagement in theaters, which ends on February 19. Seeing this production when it first premiered at the Richard Rogers Theater, I felt the show was a bit comme ci comme ça, but after seeing this production in the theaters, I felt that it had come full circle. Both Bloom and Rashad seemed more comfortable with the language. The production in its entirety, which seemed to not be fully complete when I saw it, exhibited a richness that wasn’t present when I saw it last year.
Another aspect of this film version was the distinct difference of viewing “Romeo and Juliet” on stage as opposed to seeing it on the screen. On Broadway the audience is part of the experience; the actors are performing for you. Watching it on screen I got the sensation of a voyeur – a gate crasher sneaking through the side door who quietly watches the show unfold. The excitement wasn’t as palpable; however it was still there.
If you ask me Broadway HD is a brilliant concept. Not everyone has the luxury of living in New York City and those that do don’t always have the opportunity to see productions while they’re making their run. Broadway HD allows Broadway to be accessible to everyone no matter if you are in Atlanta, Denver or Brooklyn. I’m looking forward to watching future productions courtesy of this innovative series.
Photo: Carol Rosegg