Welcome to BWW's ON THIS DAY Series celebrating theatrical birthdays, openings and special events that took place on this day in theatre history!
Today in 1935, Romeo and Juliet opened at the Martin Beck Theatre. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular archetypal stories of young, teenage lovers. Romeo and Juliet has been adapted numerous times for stage, film, musical and opera. During the Restoration, it was revived and heavily revised by William Davenant. David Garrick's 18th-century version also modified several scenes, removing material then considered indecent, and Georg Benda's operatic adaptation omitted much of the action and added a happy ending. Performances in the 19th century, including Charlotte Cushman's, restored the original text, and focused on greater realism. John Gielgud's 1935 version kept very close to Shakespeare's text, and used Elizabethan costumes and staging to enhance the drama. In the 20th century the play has been adapted in versions as diverse as MGM's comparatively faithful 1936 film, the 1950s stage musicAl West Side Story, and 1996's MTV-inspired Romeo + Juliet.
Footage from the 1935 production is hard to come by, but check out a scene from the 1996 movie below!
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