Joffrey Ballet to perform ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at Los Angeles Music Center

The Joffrey Ballet returns to Los Angeles for a contemporary rendition of Shakespeare's timeless classic Romeo & Juliet. Performances will take place at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 9, 11 & 17, 2018.

Part of the 15th season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center (Dance at The Music Center), this critically acclaimed retelling of Shakespeare's iconic tale is set amid the tumult of 20th century Italy, beginning with Mussolini-era 1930s and spanning three decades of political strife. Choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor, The Joffrey Ballet dancers will be accompanied by Sergei Prokofiev's dramatic 1935 score, performed live by the Dance at The Music Center orchestra, with modern costumes and set design by Tatyana Van Walsum.

A story relevant to generations past and present, Shakespeare's cautionary tale of love serves as a modern metaphor for the influence of society over individual freedom. Although the personal journeys of Romeo & Juliet are integral to the tale, this is a love story within a clear social and political context -- the collective identity of the group is considered more important, and the lovers are destined for tragedy. The performances use a multimedia video backdrop to depict three different political eras of 20th century Italy, mapping the journey through a contemporary lens, as the story flows from one generation to the next.

"The Music Center and The Joffrey Ballet have a long history of successful collaborations, and Romeo & Juliet is no exception," said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. "This stunning adaptation of Romeo & Juliet breathes new life into one of the greatest love stories of our time, while beautifully revealing its modern-day relevance. These performances provide a unique opportunity for both new and seasoned audiences alike to experience this classic masterpiece in an entirely new way."

Romeo & Juliet opens with imagery of Italy in the 1930s, the time of Mussolini and the rise of Fascism. The Capulet family represents the upper class conservatives with stiff, militaristic movement, while the Montagues represent the liberal low and middle classes, danced with loose, flowing motions laced with pedestrian naturalism. The second act shifts to the 1950s with the rise of the Red Brigade and increased political terrorism -- a fitting scene for the tensions blocking Romeo & Juliet's passionate romance. The third act, set closer to the 1990s during Berlusconi's leadership and increasing social divisions, escalates the conflict toward the story's tragic conclusion.

"Continuing The Music Center's tradition of presenting timeless classics with a contemporary twist, this production embodies the power of dance as a means to explore the human experience," said Michael Solomon, vice president of presentations and education for The Music Center. "The Joffrey Ballet's Romeo & Juliet sets a familiar love story against three different social and political generations in 20th-century Italy, which deepens the timelessness of the story and how it relates to our ever-changing times."


Romeo & Juliet

Choreographer: Krzysztof Pastor

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Original set and costume design: Tatyana Van Walsum

Lighting Design: Bert Dalhuysen


Tickets for Romeo & Juliet performances at The Music Center start at $34 and are available online at, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office, 135 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012; or by calling (213) 972-0711. For groups of 10 or more, call (213) 972-8555 or email 

By Dena Burroughs  --  March 1, 2018