Students are spending their summer participating in a free ‘summer intensive’ mentorship program at the award-winning regional theatre

July 10, 2019 (Jupiter) – A cast and creative team made up of local middle and high school students are spending their summer producing a historic Shakespearian classic.

Under the guidance of industry professionals at Florida’s largest award-winning professional regional theatre, students are taking part in a free summer mentorship program to produce William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. The show will take place on the Theatre’s stage on August 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m.; August 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and August 11 at 2 p.m.

The students’ production of Romeo and Juliet will be performed on the Theatre’s stage deck with intimate in-the-round seating that promises to be a unique and unforgettable theatrical experience. A distinctive seating configuration that provides audience members with the opportunity to surround the stage, in-the-round seating immerses the audience in the production’s action.

“We can promise that this production will be one that theatregoers won’t see anywhere else,” said the show’s student director Alexander Goodwin-Elam, a junior at Oxbridge Academy. “The opportunity to produce a classic like this at a professional regional theatre with experiential in-the-round seating is enormous. We are all beyond thrilled to be spending our summer creating something so monumental.”

In one of the greatest love stories ever told, the city of Verona is divided by an historic bitter feud where two star-crossed lovers meet. Romeo and Juliet’s tragic end brings light to the necessity of peace.

One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, the plot is based on the Italian tale The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567. Shakespeare borrowed from both but expanded the plot by developing a number of supporting characters; he first published his story as a quarto version in 1597. It has been adapted numerous times for stage, film, musical, and opera venues in the years since its inception.

Known as the Youth Artists’ Chair, the project aligns students with individual Theatre staff members for one-on-one mentoring and guidance during the creation process of the show. Since 2011, students have produced the dramas To Kill a Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, Rhinoceros, The Glass Menagerie, The Crucible, Hamlet, The Laramie Project and The Good Times are Killing Me.

“The Youth Artists’ Chair program is a wonderful annual opportunity for local students to spend their summer working on a significant, vital project with their peers,” said Julie Rowe, the Theatre’s director of education and mentor to the production’s student dramaturg. “Our students have gained an incredible amount of professional knowledge through the years and graduate-level training from highly-skilled artists. We are all honored to be providing guidance this summer for their production of Romeo and Juliet, particularly with the show’s unique in-the-round setting.”

After passing through an extensive interview and selection process, the student creative team consists of: Alexander Goodwin-Elam (director), 15, of Jupiter; Emma Holloway (assistant director), 17, of Jupiter; Isabella Betz (production stage manager), 15, of Palm Beach Gardens; Lily Stewart (dramaturg), 15 of Palm Beach Gardens; Ryan Carroll (lighting designer), 17 of Jupiter; Penelope Hess (costume designer), 12, of Palm Beach Gardens; Mia Rubin (sound designer), 15, of Jupiter; and Mitchell Hockenson (props designer), 17, of Jupiter.

The show’s cast will feature Blake McCall (Romeo), 13, of Jupiter; Hana Roberts (Juliet), 13, of Palm Beach Gardens; Nicholas Russell (Friar Laurence), 15, of Jupiter; Eamon Kimball (Mercutio/Friar John), 15, of Jupiter; Morgan Kullen (Benvolio), 14, of Jupiter; Gabriella Smith (Lord Capulet), 15, of Jupiter; Jacqueline Stiefel (Lady Capulet), 16, of Jupiter; Melanie McDonald (Sir Paris), 13, of Tequesta; Maya Mays (Nurse/Lady Montague), 17, of Greenacres; Brianna Alvarez (Lord Montague), 16, of Hobe Sound; Kenneth Salazar (Tybalt/Apothecary/Police #2), 18, of West Palm Beach; Shanice Lodge (Prince), 16, of Jupiter; Molly Dolan (Peter/Sir Paris’Page/Police #1), 14, of Jupiter; Lauren Holloway (Guard/Citizen of Verona), 14, of Jupiter; and Lauren Perez Guard/Citizen of Verona), 15, of West Palm Beach; Cecile Rubin Guard/Citizen of Verona), 11, of Jupiter; and Jasmine Smith Guard/Citizen of Verona), 17, of Palm Beach Gardens.

Tickets are on sale now for Romeo and Juliet, which will take place at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on August 8 and 9; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on August 10; and 2 p.m. on August 11. Tickets are $20 for students and $25 for adults. Please note that this production explores mature themes. Visit or call (561) 575-2223.

About the Maltz Jupiter Theatre
The not-for-profit Maltz Jupiter Theatre has become one of Florida’s preeminent professional theatres, committed to production and education through its collaborations with local and national artists. Currently the state’s largest award-winning regional theatre, the Theatre draws 100,000 people annually, serves a subscription base of more than 8,560 and has world-class classroom facilities in support of its Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts, which serves hundreds of youth and adults. The Theatre is a member of the prestigious League of Resident Theatres and has earned numerous Carbonell Awards, South Florida’s highest honor for artistic excellence, including the prestigious Bill Von Maurer Award for Theatrical Excellence. For more information about the Theatre’s upcoming shows and Conservatory, visit or call the box office at (561) 575-2223.   

Media Contact:
Linnea Bailey (561) 713-0673
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Calendar item:

Youth Artists’ Chair presents Romeo and Juliet – Thursday, August 8 – Sunday, August 11
In one of the greatest love stories ever told, the city of Verona is divided by an historic bitter feud where two star-crossed lovers meet. Romeo and Juliet’s tragic end brings light to the necessity of peace. Produced by middle and high school students as part of the Theatre’s Youth Artists’ Chair program and performed in an intimate “in the round” setting on the stage deck. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on August 8 and 9; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on August 10; and 2 p.m. on August 11. Tickets are $20 for students and $25 for adults.

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