‘Romeo y Juliet’ adaptation features English and Spanish lines, plus a gender twist

‘Romeo y Juliet’ adaptation features English and Spanish lines, plus a gender twist

‘Romeo y Juliet’ adaptation features English and Spanish lines, plus a gender twist
KJ Sanchez, who directed the national tour of Cal Shakes “Quixote Nuevo,” shown here, returns to direct “Romeo y Juliet” at the Orinda amphitheater.

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (May 18, 2022) — Cal Shakes returns May 25 with the world premiere of the bilingual “Romeo y Juliet,” running through June 19 at the Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda.

Playwright Karen Zacarías did the translation in this unique adaptation that uses English and Spanish interchangeably. KJ Sanchez, who did the national tour of Cal Shakes’ 2018 hit “Quixote Nuevo,” returns to direct.

“I have been longing to work with Cal Shakes again, longing to make art again, longing to be back on that beautiful stage,” said Sanchez. “I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Zacarías for years and years.”

According to Cal Shakes artistic director Eric Ting, both Zacarías and Sanchez thought it was important to mix lines in English and Spanish throughout.

“They wanted to show the ways in which language represents class,” Ting said. “We realize it may not be as accessible to everyone, but I think everyone will still enjoy this production. So many are familiar with the story, and from the workshop rehearsals I’ve attended, it is going to be really exciting.”

Set in the early 1800s, “Romeo y Juliet” takes place in Alta California when the Golden State was under Mexican rule. The young lovers will both be women.

“I think it is very cool to have the lovers played by women,” Ting said. “California was on the cusp of transformation, with all these strict religious rules about relationships, and this feeds into the story and time period.”

For tickets, call 510-548-9666 or go to www.calshakes.org.


Madhuri Shekar’s fresh take on the Greek classic “Antigone” is Town Hall Theatre’s second production of the mainstage season in Lafayette.

Shekar, who is currently writing the screenplay for Whoopi Goldberg’s “Sister Act 3,” examines the classic as performed by a high school drama department.

“Antigone, presented by the girls of St. Catherine’s” chronicles events when the students realize their beloved drama teacher has betrayed them in an unforgivable way. They soon discover their own lives have become a shocking parallel to the story of Antigone.

“Many young women are introduced to ‘Antigone’ during high school English class while they are growing into society’s rules of what women should be and what they should accept,” said director Claire Ganem.

The show runs June 2-25 at Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St., Lafayette. Call 925-283-1557 or go to www.townhalltheatre.com.

Ballet lovers have a treat in store with Diablo Ballet’s “Coppelia.” The lighthearted, romantic comedy runs May 20-21 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. Call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

Crazy for You and Charlie Brown

Young performers are busy throughout the county with El Campanil Theatre Academy presenting “Crazy for You: Youth Edition” and the Ballet School’s Performing Arts Studio presenting “The 39 Steps.” The Theatre Academy performs May 20-21 at 602 W 2nd St., Antioch.

Enjoy the next generation of performers by calling 925-757-9500 or going to www.elcampaniltheatre.com. The Ballet School performs May 20 at the Lesher Center for the Arts. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

Meanwhile, Clayton Theatre Company (CTC) will once again offer its Summer Stage program for children 6-16, with sessions July 11-15 and July 18-21 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. The camp concludes with a performance of excerpts from “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” at 11 a.m. July 22. Register at www.claytontheatrecompany.com.

In addition, CTC has scheduled auditions for the fall production of “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits,” 3-4 p.m. May 22, immediately followed by call backs, at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. No appointments necessary. Download audition form at www.claytontheatrecompany.com.

Send comments to sallyhogarty@gmail.com

Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to sallyhogarty@gmail.com