Endangered Species (theater) Project will present “Romeo & Juliet” with deaf artist Joshua M. Castille, a Broadway actor from the Tony Award-nominated “Spring Awakening,” as Romeo. Joining Castille as Juliet is Mid-Atlantic hearing actor Surasree Das.
ESP artistic director Christine Mosere will direct the production with assistant direction by deaf artist Neil Sprouse, who also is the production’s director of artistic sign language.
“I couldn’t think of a better play to choose to headline our Frederick Shakespeare Festival,” Christine Mosere said. “I know most directors say this, regardless of when they are directing this beautiful tragedy, but it truly feels timelier than ever. Our country continues to feel deeply divided over ideologies while often ignoring the wishes of our greatest gift, the younger generation.”
The set is being designed by Aaron Angello, with costumes designed by Tiffany Freeze and Sarah M. Walsh. Original music is composed by New York City actor, singer, composer and filmmaker Garth Kravits.
Frederick is the home of the Maryland School for the deaf and has a robust deaf community, but deaf actors are notably absent from Frederick’s theater stages. ESP is proud to have two deaf actors as leads in its production.
The show is designed for a mixed hearing and deaf audience with the shadow voices of Romeo and the Friar played by Joe Mucciolo and Greta Boeringer, respectively.
Sprouse and Mosere spent close to a year adapting the script to accommodate both languages.
The Delaplaine Foundation and the Maryland State Arts Council helped fund this adaptation. The evening will run about two and a half hours and will be presented at the Hodson Outdoor Theatre on the Hood College campus, 410 Rosemont Ave., Frederick. Rain/weather location is the Rosenstock Building in the theater at Hood College.
Preview night is Aug. 5, opening night is Aug. 6, and the production continues with shows on Aug. 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 and 16. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. each night except for the Aug. 14 show, which starts at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are pay-what-you-can and available at esptheatre.org. When you reserve your place in advance through the website, you will receive an email if the show has moved to the rain venue. Call 301-305-1405 for more information.