Romeo & Juliet by Devon Carney

Dancers Angelina Sansone & Geoffrey Kropp. Photographer Steve Wilson.
Dancers: Molly Wagner and Liang Fu. Photographer: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studio.

Choreography: Devon Carney


Music: Sergei Prokofiev


SCENE 1 | The market square in the city of Verona
On this early morning in the quiet streets of Verona, Romeo is found by his friend Benvolio walking through the town square in his usual melancholic manner. The square comes to life with the early morning daily activities. Mercutio, a close friend to Romeo, and Benvolio leads the citizens in a rousing dance which is interrupted by an accident. A fight breaks out between Tybalt, nephew to Lord Capulet, and Mercutio. More Capulets and Montagues join the brawl, all of whom have harbored an ancient grudge against one another’s extended families. At the news of a mortal casualty, Escalus, the Prince of Verona and the highest authority in the city, arrives and denounces their violent actions, commanding all to lay down their arms. He proclaims that if any further disturbances occur, the offending parties will be sentenced to death.

SCENE 2 | A Capulet courtyard (within the walls of their home)
Juliet is seen preparing for the Capulet ball that evening with her Nurse’s assistance. Her father and mother, Lord and Lady Capulet, enter and inform her of her arranged marriage to Paris, a young count, who is a kinsman of the Prince of Verona.

SCENE 3 | At the entranceway to the Capulet home
In the evening as the invited guests begin arriving for the festivities and entering the Capulet home, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio arrive on the scene. They plan on attending the party uninvited to take in the all the frivolity. After affirming their comradery and friendship, they don their masks to hide their identity and enter the Capulet home even though Romeo has a premonition of things to come.

SCENE 4 | The grand ballroom
As the evening gets under way within the Capulet’s opulent ballroom, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio arrive to join in the revelry. Paris enters and greets Juliet. Juliet and Romeo’s eyes meet from across the crowded floor and fall in love at first sight. Tybalt, recognizing Romeo, breaks into a fit of rage only to be tempered by the social constraints of his uncle, Lord Capulet. As the guests are departing, Juliet, through the inquiry of her Nurse, discovers that the young man she has just met is Romeo of the house of Montague.

SCENE 5 | The balcony, in Juliet’s private courtyard
Later that evening in the hour of midnight, we find Juliet out on her balcony remembering her meeting of Romeo. Romeo, now alone, has stumbled upon this scene and observes Juliet from the shadows. They see each other and express their love and devotion to one another in spite of their families’ disagreements. They are one with the eternal stars of the night sky.


SCENE 1 | In the market square
The next morning, Juliet’s Nurse arrives in the square with a note for Romeo from Juliet. Mercutio and Benvolio have a few laughs with her. Romeo arrives in the square and the Nurse delivers the letter which tells Romeo that he should meet Juliet at Friar Laurence’s abby where they are to be secretly wed.

SCENE 2 | Friar Laurence’s Cell
Romeo and Juliet are reunited and Friar Laurence weds them. His hope is that this union will finally end the strife between the Montagues and the Capulets. The couple kisses and agrees to meet secretly that night in Juliet’s bedroom.

SCENE 3 | The market square in Verona
Later in the day, Tybalt enters the square, searching for Romeo, and encounters Mercutio who taunts him. Romeo arrives and Tybalt challenges him to fight. Romeo refuses since he is now, by marriage, a kinsman to Tybalt. Mercutio steps in and fights Tybalt only to be mortally wounded and dies. Romeo, distraught over his friend’s death, attacks Tybalt in a rage. Tybalt is overcome by the ferocity of Romeo’s anger and is killed. Lady Capulet enters and mourns her nephew’s death. The Prince of Verona banishes Romeo and he must leave by daybreak the next morning.


SCENE 1 | Juliet’s bedroom, the next morning
Romeo and Juliet have secretly spent the night together. With the sunrise, it is time for him to depart Verona. Juliet wishes for him to stay but reality sets in and he departs. Lord and Lady Capulet enter and notify her that she will marry Paris the following day. Distraught over the thought of this, Juliet goes to Friar Laurence for council.

SCENE 2 | Friar Laurence’s cell
Juliet arrives in much despair pleading for help from the Friar. He concocts a plan for Juliet to take a sleeping potion that will bring on the appearance of her death just long enough for her to be buried in the family crypt. She will then be revived by the Friar who will help her reunite with Romeo. The Friar sends a message to Romeo (in Mantua) explaining the details of this order of events.

SCENE 3 | Juliet’s bedroom
Lord and Lady Capulet depart after Juliet agrees to wed Paris the following morning. Juliet immediately seizes the opportunity to take the sleeping potion and falls into a deep sleep. In Juliet’s bedroom at dawn, her friends enter to welcome her to her wedding day. The Nurse, Lord and Lady Capulet enter and request that she be awakened. But wedding day joy is replaced by horror as they discover Juliet in a lifeless state.

SCENE 4 | The Capulet family crypt
The Capulets have laid their beloved Juliet in her final resting place in their crypt and are departing. Romeo, who never received the note from the Friar, has rushed back to Verona to be with Juliet for all eternity. Paris has lingered behind the other mourners only to be confronted by Romeo who, with nothing left to live for, kills him and then mourns Juliet’s death. He then takes a deadly poison and dies. Friar Laurence now enters to discover this horrifying sight just as Juliet has begun to awake from her deep sleep. Upon discovering Romeo dead within the crypt, she takes her own life and is reunited with her love in death.

The Montagues and the Capulets are finally brought to reconciliation through the heartbreaking turn of events that have unfolded. And so their beloved Romeo and Juliet “doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.”

KANSAS CITY BALLET PREMIERE: Friday, October 13, 2017, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

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