Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley star as Shakespeare’s ill-fated lovers in the National Theatre’s filmed production of Romeo and Juliet, airing on PBS Great Performances 9 PM ET April 23.
Romeo and Juliet was initially planned for a live performance last summer, but the pandemic forced the pivot to film and a hybrid production was created. In this contemporary rendering of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, a company of actors in a shuttered theater bring to life the tale of two young lovers. The action moves from stripped-down rehearsal spaces to realized scenes using varied areas of National’s Lyttelton Theatre.
Joining O’Connor (The Crown) and Buckley (Fargo, Chernobyl) in the cast are Fisayo Akinade as Mercutio, Shubham Saraf as Benvolio, Deborah Findlay as the Nurse, David Judge as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni as Paris, Ellis Howard as Sampson, Tamsin Greig as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati as the Friar, Adrian Lester as the Prince, Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, Colin Tierney as Lord Montague, and Ella Dacres as Peta.
Great Performances: Romeo and Juliet kicks off #PBSForTheArts, a multiplatform campaign from PBS and WNET celebrating the resiliency of the arts in America during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and eventual reopening. The campaign will continue with new specials and original digital content from PBS favorites including Great Performances, American Masters, and PBS Newshour’s Canvas. Next up from #PBSForTheArts is Great Performances: Uncle Vanya May 7, filmed under COVID-19 restrictions from London’s Harold Pinter Theater.