They say boys mature more slowly than girls, but this is ridiculous.
A new Broadway production of the play opened this past week with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad (Phylicia and Ahmad’s daughter) in the title roles. As we all know thanks to the freshman required reading list, Romeo and Juliet are teenagers when they meet, fall in love, and screw everything up. (Because they’re teenagers.) Orlando Bloom is almost 37, which makes the 26 year-old Rashad’s casting almost age-appropriate. He’s got a wife and a kid and probably can handle responsibility pretty well. What’s going on here? Is this some comment on his generation’s suspended adolescence?
But he’s dreamy; he’s got the chops; he looks good under a balcony — what’s the problem? This situation shines a light on the fact that not all star-casting stage debacles happen because the actors can’t cut it. Sometimes they happen because the actor is, unfortunately, not suited for his dream role anymore. Chances are, this Romeo & Juliet is happening because Bloom wanted to do it, not because the theater-going public was clamoring for another adaptation. That’s not to say that he’s not pulling down some fantastic reviews. But who knows how much better he could have been in a fitting role?