SUNY Jamestown Community College
SUNY Jamestown Community College Uncommoners will present a reimagining of Shakespeare’s most tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, on the Jamestown Campus later this month. Seating is limited as the production will be performed in the round at 7:30 p.m. on March 24, 25, 30, 31 and April 1, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. March 26 in the Scharmann Theatre.
Romeo and Juliet is directed by Jamestown native Emily Drew, who performed in many musicals while attending Jamestown High School, and went on to study acting and directing at New York University. She has gained extensive training and experience in Shakespearian theater through a Shakespearian acting company she helped form while at college. Drew completed her professional training at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Shakespeare and Company in the Performance of Classical Texts. She went on to help found a theater company specializing in the Original Practices Shakespeare. Called Madness Most Discreet, the group recently received the 2023 Support for Artists Grant through The New York State Council on the Arts in partnership with the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, to produce and perform Original Practice Shakespeare in Jamestown.
“I am honored to bring this take on Romeo and Juliet to life through the JCC Uncommoners,” Drew shared. “It’s exciting to work with such a talented group of local performers.”
According to Steven Gustafson, producer for Romeo and Juliet, the group is thrilled that 10 of the 11 cast and crew members are JCC students. A Jamestown native for more than 60 years, Gustafson has returned from retirement from JCC to help bring his 36th performance to the Scharmann Theatre. Gustafson began in 2003 as technical director of the Scharmann. Under the direction of Bob Schlick and Julie Costintini, Gustafson helped produce many JCC Uncommoners shows including Newsies, West Side Story, Legally Blonde, The Producers, and Hairspray. Gustafson appreciates Drew’s interpretation of this year’s iconic tale for its ability to bring bright focus to one of the key aspects of Shakespeare’s works.
“It’s not about props, it’s story before spectacle,” Gustafson shared. “This reimagining allows Shakespeare’s language to lead the way.”
This year’s cast includes Kaden Webber of Warren, PA as Romeo; Morgan Tobio of Hamden, CT as Juliet; Ethan Tyger of Lakewood as Benvolio; Zoe Struble of Fort Worth, TX as Capulet/Montague; Titus Miller of Cassadaga Valley as Prince/Tybalt; Jonah Gantabein of Monroe, WA as Friar Lawrence; Colin Drayer of Warren, PA as Mercutio/Friar John; Karlie Blodien of Jamestown as Nurse.
The Uncommoners crew includes Trisha Patel of Jamestown, stage manager; Lori Cobb of Jamestown, character consultant; Scott Barton of Jamestown, lighting and production designer; Graham Riggle of Jamestown, audio engineer; Jan Braeger of Jamestown, costume designer; Takamo Onoda of Japan, production assistant; Riley Gustafson of Frewsburg, fly boy.
“I look forward to bringing Romeo and Juliet to the city of Jamestown, and its surrounding areas,” Drew said. “With the limited seating, our audience should feel as though they are fully immersed in the tale so it’s sure to be a production you don’t want to miss!”
Tickets are $6 for JCC students, $10 for JCC FSA members, and $12 general admission, and can be purchased online at sunyjcc.edu/uncommoners, over the phone by calling 716.338.1187, or at the door.