Joffrey’s Romeo & Juliet – Beyond the Bard Telling of Classic Tale

The Most Classic Love Story

Tightly clinging, intertwining and wrapping round each other in a way that makes a regular couple’s spooning look relatively impersonal, the two young lovers Romeo (Rory Hohenstein) and Juliet (Christine Rocas) telegraph their passions as we listen to Prokofiev’s awesome melody of love.  We had seen them spy each other with love-at-first-sight glances, mirror their mutual passions from balcony to below, and finally find each other in gliding pas de deux so, so smooth.

Joffrey Ballet Romeo & Juliet

Joffrey Ballet Sets New High Bar

This is ballet at its best, making extraordinary moves look absolutely effortless. Yet again, the Joffrey re-defines its bar ever higher, this time with ballerina Rocas leading the way.

The biggest star of Joffrey’s production of Romeo & Juliet is actually Krzystof Pastor, the choreographer who has gone to the emotional essence of William Shakespeare’s story and meshed it with great finesse to the famed score by Sergei Prokofiev.

Joffrey Ballet Romeo & Juliet

Angular and Emphatic

When emotions flare –whether it is Juliet resisting her parents or her father seizing the stage with intent to rule, or the two clans Montague and Capulet, colliding in conflict, all becomes angular with studied emphasis.

It is especially amazing to see tall towering Fabrice Calmels as Juliet’s father create a dominating presence in keeping with the forbidding theme that is his role’s signature theme created by the Prokofiev score.

Joffrey Ballet Romeo & Juliet

When there is love all is fluid and float.

.Joffrey Ballet's Birthday Present to the Bard

One imagines that the Bard, watching the ballet, would be dazzled by how dance expression can scratch that itch for emotional communication that even his most pearly words can’t quite do. Of the many gifts on Chicago’s stages this year to help the Bard celebrate his 400th, this one is certainly one of the best.

Joffrey Ballet Romeo & Juliet

Yoshihisa Arai Shines

For Joffrey fans who have come to love how Yoshihisa Arai infuses his roles in story ballets with great personality, his portrayal of Mercutio truly delivers what you have come to expect. He gives us the trouble-maker punk—ever so gracefully.

Giving it a Modern Feel

With backdrop film projections of Italy circa 1930s, 50s, and 90s- this production aims to give the classic tale a modern feel. Panels descend up and down to create backdrops that bring the rival clans and townsfolk into the lovers’ domain or keep them out. Flashes of mirror on these panels add to the dreamscape feel when we are with the lovers finding each other in their own world.   (Set and costume design by Tatyana Van Walsum; lighting by Bert Dalhuysen),

Live music by Chicago Philharmonic, conducted by Scott Speck.

Joffrey Ballet Romeo & Juliet

Top pick recommendation.



Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

50 East Congress Parkway



Joffrey Ballet Romeo & Juliet


Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30pm

Saturday, Oct. 15 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2:00pm

Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:30pm

Friday, Oct. 21 at 7:30pm

Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Sunday, Oct. 23 at 2:00pm.



Purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, or the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, by telephone 312.386.8905, or online at

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