A Critic’s Notebook: Orlando Bloom is one of four Romeos in Atlanta this weekend

Four events offer four takes on a Shakespeare classic


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  • BLOOM’S DAY: Orlando Bloom recently played Romeo opposite Condola Rashad as Juliet in a Broadway production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Atlantans will have the chance to check it out when the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema screens a filmed version of the show Feb. 13 and 16. It’s just one of several opportunities this Valentine’s weekend to see productions of Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

Snow and ice on the ground will be no excuse. If you’re in a relationship, you’re still going to have to find something romantic to do for Valentine’s Day. Fortunately, in Atlanta this weekend, there are several opportunities to attend productions of the world’s greatest love story, Romeo and Juliet.

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Orlando Bloom made headlines when he performed as Romeo in the recent Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet, and Atlanta audiences will finally have the chance to check it out when Romeo and Juliet on Broadway is broadcast to the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on Thurs., Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 16, at 11 a.m. The show, which unfortunately did not receive many good reviews, updates the tale to contemporary times: Orlando as Romeo enters on a motorcycle, and the whole thing is given a West Side Story-spin by making it a tale of gang warfare. Condola Rashad plays Juliet. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Landmark Cinema.

Image Viewers can also take a look at Fabrefaction’s production of Shakespeare’s R&J by Joe Colarco. The show, which utilizes a four-member, all-male cast, examines the star-crossed lovers of Verona through the prism of a group of students at a repressive boarding school who begin reading and performing Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy ensues. Shakespeare’s R&J opens at Midtown’s Fabrefaction Theatre on Thurs., Feb. 13, and runs through March 2.

Image Also this weekend, the dancers of the Atlanta Ballet continue with performances of Roméo et Juliette at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The production utilizes the classic music by Prokofiev (performed live by the Atlanta Ballet orchestra) but updates the ballet with new choreography by contemporary French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot. For tickets or more information, visit the Atlanta Ballet.

Image Innovative contemporary productions are all well and good, but if you prefer your Romeo and Juliet to “kiss by the book,” so to speak, then the New American Shakespeare Tavern is the place for you. The Tavern performs Shakespeare in the style of “original practice,” that is, as close to the spirit of Shakespeare’s time as possible. The costuming, the performances, even the shape of the theater have all been carefully researched to resemble those used in Shakespeare’s own time. (And unlike in Shakespeare’s time, at the Tavern, you can order a hummus wrap, fries, and a craft beer to go with the show. Some modern innovations are worth keeping.) Annie York Hester is Juliet and Nick Arapoglou is Romeo on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at 7:30 p.m. The production runs through March 30. Visit the Shakespeare Tavern for more info or tickets.

Any one of these would make for a great outing for Valentine’s Day, but here’s an idea for a super-memorable, over-the-top romantic weekend: Take your significant other to every last one of these. Diamonds are merely expensive trinkets, a fancy meal is soon forgotten, roses wither and fade, but memories of four marathon days full of revenge killings and double suicides will last forever.