Romeo and Juliet is t only one of the most popular of Shakespeare's plays, it is one of the most popular stories in the world. Yet while the play has rarely been off the stage, it has undergone radical transformations in performance. It has been abridged, rewritten, given a happy ending, reset in other times and places, and adapted into other media. While retaining its appeal as a definitive love story, Romeo and Juliet has been a dynamic and unstable performance text, endlessly reinvented to suit differing cultural needs. This edition provides a detailed, thorough and readable account of the play in production. The introduction examines shifts in interpretation, textual adaptations and staging invations over four centuries of theatrical production. The commentary gives detailed examples of how different performers, from Henry Irving and Ellen Terry to Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, have brought life and death to Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.
James N. Loehlin is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. He is author of Henry V in the Manchester University Press Shakespeare in Performance series, as well as a number of articles and reviews regarding Shakespeare on stage and film. He is also Director of the Shakespeare at Winedale program, a University of Texas summer course dedicated to the intensive study of Shakespeare through performance.