When your play's main characters are named Romeo and Juliet, you know you're getting a love story — especially if you're actually going to see Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. People tend to focus on the romance of young lovers who can't be together and gloss over the reasons for the "can't be together" part of the story. In Robin Weatherall's new adaptation of the popular tale, the cause of the Montague/Capulet split is front and center: One family is Jewish and the other is Muslim, and it's set in Palestine during the 1947 war for Israel's independence -- try to gloss over that. By altering these elements, the reason for their family's disapproval is thrown into very stark relief — but the transcendent power of Romeo and Juliet's love is made brighter. Lord Capulet and Lord Montague console one another over their lost children at the end of the play, and that image is not likely to be overshadowed by the preceding death scenes this go-round. The New Jewish Theatre presents this unique take on Romeo and Juliet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday (April 14 through May 2) at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-361-9017 or www.newjewishtheatre.org). Tickets are $25.50 to $37.50.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Starts: April 14. Continues through May 2, 2010