Monday, May 25, 2015

Unexpected Stage Co. Presents Romeo & Juliet: Love Knows No Age

Claire Schoonover & Elliott Bales (r) star in Romeo & Juliet: Love Knows No Age (Photo: David Lewis)

From our friends at Unexpected Stage Company...

Unexpected Stage Company's Romeo & Juliet: Love Knows No Age Explores Forbidden Love in Twilight Years, July 16 to August 9 at Randolph Road Theater

As part of its sixth and most ambitious season to date, Unexpected Stage Company - the fast-growing, Washington, DC-area professional theater company - will present its first Shakespearean production this summer. Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age is a reimagining of Shakespeare's most famous play, in which the titular characters are in their 70s. The production will run from July 16 through August 9, 2015, at Randolph Road Theater, 4010 Randolph Road, Wheaton, MD (the former Round House space.)

General admission tickets are priced $16 to $27.50, and are on sale via phone at 1(800) 838-3006, online at, and at the door subject to availability. A special Pay-What-You-Can preview performance is scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 PM. For information, please call 301-337-8290 or visit

Unexpected Stage Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age revisits Shakespeare's most famous play and flips it on its head, as Romeo and Juliet are now septuagenarians and the Montagues and Capulets are their adult children. Set in an adult living community, this contemporary interpretation of a classic tragedy explores what happens when Romeo and Juliet fall passionately in love later in life.

The show marks the first Shakespearean production for Unexpected Stage Company - known for staging thought-provoking works such as last year’s critically acclaimed production of Kooman and Dimond's Dani Girl (nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards) and productions such as Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van (2013) and David Johnston’s Candy and Dorothy (2011), both Helen Hayes Awards recommended.

The text of Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age uses Shakespeare's original language almost exclusively, with the exception of swapping words like "parents" for "children" in certain instances. According to Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age director Christopher Goodrich, who serves as Unexpected Stage Company’s co-artistic director with Rachel Stroud-Goodrich, "With star-crossed lovers in their 70s, we are looking to explore passionate, toe-curling, jaw-dropping love from a new perspective. Our setting? A retirement home, of course. The script remains the same, and the characters haven't changed. Just the maturity of our titular characters, and the urgency found at the end of a life, to find a love that reminds you of beginnings."

Fight Choreographer Casey Kaleba has been working with Christopher Goodrich to explore how this reimagining affects the story, saying, "It's too easy to see Shakespeare's play as an indictment of the passions of youth - hot and heady teenagers, reckless and fatally confident. But that misses his larger point, that the children of the play are products of a society that has failed to deal with death and violence effectively, humanely, or honestly. The play is driven by characters who choose to take control of their lives, and in many cases their deaths. They have no control over anything else, but they can define the meaning of their lives and their legacies by what they do in their last hours."

Starring as Romeo is Elliott Bales, who returned to performing after a 26-year career as a U.S. Army officer, and has recently been seen as Victor/Argument in The Wonderful World of Dissocia at Theater Alliance (2015 Helen Hayes Award - Outstanding Play); Ruby in The Last of the Whyos at Spooky Action Theater; Frank Riley in Not Enuf Lifetimes at The Welders; Ernest Herbert in Porch at Peter’s Alley Theater; and Azrael in Creation of the World at Off the Quill Theater. He also serves as the Managing Director for Theater Alliance. Claire Schoonover, who plays Juliet, is originally from England by way of Stuttgart, Germany. While in Stuttgart she acted with Kelley Theatre as Joanne in Company and Madame Arcarti in Blithe Spirit. Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age marks her Washington-area premiere. Other cast members include Justus Hammond (Mercutio), Ted Schneider (Friar Lawrence), Kecia Campbell (Nurse), Karen Fleming (Benvolio), and Josh Adams (Capulet.)

The production team includes Sean Doyle (Sound Designer), Kristen Jepperson (Set design/construction), Casey Kaleba (Fight Choreographer), Zeke Dowty (Lighting Designer), and John Barbee (Prop Design.)

After Romeo and Juliet: Love Knows No Age, Unexpected Stage Company will continue its season by presenting the world premiere of Trish Tinkler Gets Saved from October 8 to 18, as part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival. Playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger’s Skin & Bone won Best New Play at the 2014 Philadelphia Critics Awards and was nominated for the Blackburn Prize. Her 2012 drama, Slip/Shot, won the Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play, was nominated for the Weissberger Award and developed at PlayPenn and the Lark's Playwrights' Week. Trish Tinkler Gets Saved will be staged at Randolph Road Theater, 4010 Randolph Road, Wheaton, MD. The Women's Voices Theater Festival, which boasts participation from more than 50 theaters throughout the Nation’s Capital region, is dedicated to featuring new work by female playwrights and highlighting the scope of plays being written by women.

Season subscriptions are now available. To purchase, please call 1(800) 838-3006 or visit

July 16 - August 9, 2015

Show Schedule:
• Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
• Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
• Sundays at 2 p.m.

General Admission Tickets: $16-27.50
Discounts available for students, seniors, military, and groups.

Free Student Tickets: With funding from the Montgomery County Executive's Ball funds, Unexpected Stage will be providing a limited number of free to student tickets to anyone with a valid student ID. Interested students should call 301-337-8290 or email to reserve their tickets. Free student tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pay-What-You-Can: Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. Reserve tickets online through or purchase tickets at the door on the night of the performance.

Celebrating its sixth season in 2015, Unexpected Stage Company is a professional regional theater company founded by the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Goodrich and Rachel Stroud-Goodrich. The company dedicates itself to honoring the intricacies and intimacies of the complete human experience and, to that end, seeks to unite people, place and storytelling in order to explore interconnection. Visit and

Unexpected Stage Company is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Unexpected Stage gratefully acknowledges The Center for Organizational Excellence for its generous support.