top of page
Screen Shot 2022-12-12 at 6.42_edited.jpg

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is the most adapted Shakespeare play for Latinx cultures. Ever-present in U.S. culture, the familiar story and easy divide of the Capulets and Montagues also makes for a popular choice for bilingual or semi-bilingual theatre. Romeo and Juliet has Latinate roots, but Latinx-izing in US culture kicks off with West Side Story, the most successful Shakespearean adaptation worldwide. See Chapter One of Latinx Shakespeares for more on how this adaptation came to inform Shakespearean storytelling.

Scroll down for press these links for productions from the 1960s-1990, 1991-2000, 2001-2010, 2011-2020, and 2021-present.

West Side Story

West Side Story
Photo by: Carla Della Gatta
Courtesy of: Carla Della Gatta

1957 Broadway (Winter Garden Theatre)

New York, NY

West Side Story
Book by Arthur Laurents
Choreography & Concept by Jerome Robbins
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

(dir. Jerome Robbins)

The 1957 Broadway premiere and the 1961 film of this landmark adaptation changed the way Shakespeare is performed, creating "the West Side Story effect," or the changing of difference of any kind in Shakespeare - familial, cultural, economic - into cultural-linguistic difference. 

For a quick read onWest Side Story prior to 2021, see here. For the 2021 film, see here.

Chapter 1 of Latinx Shakespeares is devoted to West Side Story.

1960s - 1990

The Public Spanish Mobile Unit

1965 The Public Theater Mobile Unit
New York, NY

Romeo y Julieta
by Pablo Neruda


(dir. Osvaldo Riofrancos)

The first production in Joe Papp’s short-lived Spanish-language Mobile Unit, the show was performed entirely in Spanish by Latinx, Latin American, and Hispanic actors.

1979 Repertorio Español
New York, NY

Romeo y Julieta
by Pablo Neruda
(dir. René Buch)

In 1979, Repertorio Español produced Neruda's castellano adaptation of
Romeo and Juliet.  This has remained the only Shakespearean production by the company to this day. The production starred Elizabeth Peña as Juliet and Mateo Gomez as Romeo.

Romeo y Julieta, Repertorio Español
Photo by: Carla Della Gatta
Courtesy of: Folger Shakespeare Library

1991 - 2010

1991 South Coast Repertory Theatre
San Diego, CA

The Language of Flowers
by Edit Villarreal
Music by Germaine Franco

(dir. José Cruz González)

Link to full article

Villarreal's play has had multiple stagings over the years.

latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, new york shakespeare, bilingual theatre, bilingual shakespeares

1997 New York Fringe Festival

New York, NY

Icarus and Aria
by Kirk Wood Bromley

(dir. Aaron Beall)

Kirk Wood Bromley adapts the play into a contemporary setting. I write about this play in Latinx Shakespeares (see p.81).

2001 - 2010

2000 African-American Shakespeare Company
San Francisco, CA

Romeo y Juliet
(dir. Durand Garcia)

This production was set in Havana, with mostly Black Cuban characters, depicting the mixed and diverse peoples of Cuba. Tybalt was played by a Latino actor, and Juliet, her parents, Paris, and Romeo were all played by African American actors.

African-American Shakespeare Company
Courtesy of Durand Garcia

2003 University of Puerto Rico

Courtesy of Rosa Luisa Márquez and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Romeo(s) y Julieta(s)

by Rosa Luisa Márquez and students in her course on Experimental Theater at University of Puerto Rico

(dir. Rosa Luisa Márquez)

Rosa Luisa Márquez’s 2003 collaboration with her students at University of Puerto Rico addressed contemporary politics and combined elements of theater and visual arts. It included themes of “colonialism, warfare, and ‘an eye for an eye’ political mentality affecting American foreign affairs, with concrete resonances with the Iraq War as well as with social and political violence at play in Puerto Rico” (Márquez, Interview)

2004 East LA Classic Theater Company
Los Angeles, CA

Romeo & Juliet - A Zoot Suit Musical
by Tony Plana
(dir. Tony Plana)

Link to full article

One of the four Latinx Shakespeares from Tony Plana's East LA Classic Theater Company. Read the article and interview.

Latinx Shakespeares

2004 Teatro Bravo

Tempe, AZ

Romeo y Julieta
by Pablo Neruda

(dir. Guillermo Reyes)

Playwright and director Guillermo Reyes set Neruda's Spanish-language adaptation on a Caribbean island.

Courtesy of Guillermo Reyes
latinx theatrical adaptation, latinx plays, bilingual classical theatre, Latinx adaptation, Latinx classics

2005 Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Antonio Ocampo-Guzmán)

Director and Linklater vocal coach, Antonio Ocampo-Guzmán, created a semi-bilingual version of the play. I write about this production in Latinx Shakespeares. See p. 59-60.

2005 Autry National Center
Los Angeles, CA

Kino and Teresa
by James Lujan (Taos Pueblo)
dir. Kenneth Martines (Pueblo)

James Lujan sets the story in late 17th century Santa Fe, with Teresa the daughter of Spanish Reconquistas and Kino, who is from Pecos Pueblo. 

Photo by: Carla Della Gatta
Courtesy of: Carla Della Gatta
borderlands Shakespeares

2005 The Old Globe Bi-National Project

San Diego, CA

Romeo y Julieta

(dir. Peter Webster)
Link to full article

I write about this production briefly in Latinx Shakespeares (p.133), but see also the attached review for addtional information.

2006 Miami Shakespeare Festival
Miami, FL

Romeo y Juliet
(dir. Daphnie Sicre)

For an excellent essay by the director on the process for staging this Spanish-lanugage production, see the link to the full article.
latinx theatrical adaptation, latinx plays, shakespearean productions and adaptations, latinx Shakespeare, borderlands Shakespeare
California Shakespeares

2008 The Old Globe

San Diego, CA

Romeo y Julieta
Translation by Pablo Neruda

(dir. Nat McIntyre)
Unlike the Bi-National Project (2005), here Spanish was used to show the division between the families, with the Capulets as Spanish speakers and the Montagues as English speakers.  Thirty high school students were involved. In the script, where dialogue had been translated into Spanish, the Shakespearean English was printed underneath it in parentheses, to ease comprehension. 

Program courtesy of The Old Globe

2008 Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Chicago, IL

Romeo y Julieta 
by Karen Zacarías

(dir. Henry Godinez)

Link to full article

In 2008, Chicago Shakespeare Theater sponsored a free staged reading of Romeo y Julieta. Spanish and English were woven together throughout, with some lines starting in one language and finishing in the other.

All photos courtesy of Adriana Gaviria

Courtesy of Carla Della Gatta

Over fifty years after the Broadway premiere, Arthur Laurents directed a new Broadway revival of West Side Story premised on linguistic division. See Chapter One of Latinx Shakespeares, esp. p. 44-47.

2009 Broadway
New York, NY

West Side Story

Book by Arthur Laurents
Choreography & Concept by Jerome Robbins
Music by Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
(dir. Arthur Laurents)

Mexican Shakespeares

2009 Austin Shakespeare

Austin, TX

Romeo & Juliet

(dir. Ann Ciccolella)
Austin Shakespeare’s annual free Shakespeare in the Park in 2009 set Romeo and Juliet in Mexico in the 1940's and incorporated a Pachuco theme and Tejanx phrases throughout. 

2009 Teatro LaTea and Soñadores Productions

New York, NY

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. José A. Esquea)

Link to full article

Director José Esquea details his process through a narrative of production images and key scenes in the attached essay.

All ephemera courtesy of José A. Esquea

2010 New Brunswick Theater Festival

New Brunswick, NJ

Romeo and Juliet/Romeo y Julieta 

(dir. Daniel Swern)

In 2010, the New Brunswick Theater Festival, a new theater in New Jersey, opened with a free production that was inspired by the recent bilingual Broadway West Side Story.  New Brunswick cast an African American Romeo and a Latina Juliet.  The cast was made up of high school students, and the artistic directors, John Keller and Daniel Swern, wanted a dynamic that reflected the community and would foster a dialogue amongst the students. 
Images courtesy of coLAB Arts
latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, new york shakespeare, bilingual theatre, bilingual shakespeares

2010 E3Outlaws

New York, NY

Los Amantes del Alto Manhattan
by Theodoris Castellanos

(dir. Enmanuel García Villavicencio)
E2 Outlaws’ play shifted the setting almost thirty blocks north of West Side Story but worked against its premise by creating an all-Latinx version of the story that was entirely in Spanish. 

2011 - 2020

2012 Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Photography by: Jenny Graham
All production images courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Ashland, OR

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Laird Williamson)
OSF set the play in 1840s Alta California with both the Capulets and Montagues as part of the landed Spanish gentry, Paris and the Prince as members of the white militia, the Apothecary as an Ohlone medicine woman, and calaveras in key scenes.

This production is featured in Chapter 2 of Latinx Shakespeares, esp p.71-77.

Actors Alejandra Escalante and Daniel José Molina, seen here as Juliet and Romeo in this production at OSF on the cover of Latinx Shakespeares, discuss their acting experiences in this and other Shakespeare productions in the diálogo below from Shakespeare and Latinidad.

2013 Cara Mía Theatre Co.

Dallas, TX

Romeo and Julieta

(dir. David Lozano)

Link to full article

Cara Mía integrated Chicanx culture and Spanish into the play. See the full review below.

All ephemera courtesy of Cara Mía Theatre

2013 Shakespeare on the Rocks

Chamizal, TX

Romeo and Julieta

(dir. Jesse Snyder)
This bilingual production was set on the US/Mexico border. Director Jesse Snyder used the 1872 translation by Matias de Velasco y Rojas for the Spanish to accompany the 19th century setting. It was performed in 2013, 2015, and 2017 in various locations along the border, including El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.
 
All ephemera courtesy of David Mills for Shakespeare on the Rocks

2014 Milagro

Portland, OR

¡O Romeo!

Conceived by Olga Sanchez

(dir. Olga Sanchez)

Milagro integrated Shakespearean characters and themes with Indigenous ceremony into this devised play for Día de los Muertos. It is trilingual (English, Spanish and Nahuatl) and included musical numbers. Director Olga Sanchez Saltveit writes a detailed essay about the production for Shakespeare and Latinidad, included below. 
Photography by: Russell J. Mills
Courtesy of: Milagro
All ephemera courtesy of Meghan Lowey

2014 WAVE Productions, Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Querido: A Fantastical Tale of Romance and Revolution
by Meg Lowey

(dir. Meg Lowey)
Link to full article

An undergraduate production that integrated Spanish and the works of Latin American and Latinx writers into the story.

2014 The Vortex Theatre & City of Albuquerque for "Shakespeare in the Plaza"

Albuquerque, NM

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Bill Trabaudo)

Link to full article

The Vortex Theatre ran three Latinx Shakespeares between 2014-15.

latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, mexican shakespeare, chicano shakespeare, bilingual theatre

2016 MDCA (Miami Dade County Auditorium)

Miami, FL

Romeo y Julieta
by Pablo Neruda

(dir. Nilo Cruz)

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz directed Neruda's Spanish-language adaptation in a reading at MDCA.

Photographs courtesy of Alexa Kuve

2016 Aguijón Theater

Chicago, IL

Romeo & Julieta 

by Gerardo Cárdenas

(dir. Sándor Menéndez)

Sándor Menéndez adapted the play into lyrical Spanish, and it was performed entirely in Spanish with English surtitles.

Courtesy of Aguijón Theater
latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, new york shakespeare, bilingual theatre, bilingual shakespeares

2016 Más Mejor & Room 28

New York, NY

Romeo & Julieta

(dir. Richardo "Choo Chee" Gomez)

Set in TIto Puente Park, this reinterpretation included a great deal of comedy in its modern and locale-specific setting.

Joe Papp Spanish Mobile Unit

2016 The Public Theater Mobile Unit

New York, NY

Romeo y Julieta
by Pablo Neruda

(dir. Jerry Ruiz)

A free reading of the Neruda adaptation was held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jackson Heights. Director Jerry Ruiz writes about his process in Shakespeare and Latinidad in the essay below.

2017 Trinity Repertory and Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA)

Providence, RI

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Marcel Mascaro and Tyler Dobrowsky)

In 2016, Trinity Repertory Company and Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA) partnered for their first “Shakespeare en el Verano” with Romeo and Juliet. The translator/adapter was Saúl Ramos. In 2017, they mounted another bilingual Romeo and Juliet with translations by Franklin Diaz into contemporary Spanish. It was performed in several locations in Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket.

All images courtesy of Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company

2017 Half Moon Bay Shakespeare

Half Moon Bay, CA

Romeo y Julieta

(dir. Robert Pickett)

The production was set in Old Monterey in Alta California in 1846, at the outset of the Mexican-American War. The play was performed in Shakespearean English with several key scenes, including the balcony scene, entirely in Spanish. Spanish was also intermixed throughout.

2018 Pharr Community Theatre

Pharr, TX

Tragic Corrido of Romeo and Lupe

by Seres Jaime Magaña

(dir. Pedro Garcia)

Link to full article

This adaptation is set in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1940s.

Chicano Shakespeares

2018 BYU Young Company

Salt Lake City, UT

Romeo y Julieta

(dir. Julia Ashworth)
Link to full article

The production mixed Spanish into the script to illuminate issues of communication and miscommunication.

All ephemera courtesy of Brigham Young University

2018 Art Pot Cultural Group

Charleston, SC

Romeo & Juliet Street

by Maribel Acosta

(dir. Maribel Acosta)

Maribel Acosta's Spanish-language adaptation took place in a contemporary setting.

All ephemera courtesy of Art Pot Cultural Group
Pablo Neruda Romeo y Julieta

2018 Teatro Español en Mad Cow

Orlando, FL

Romeo y Julieta
by Pablo Neruda

(dir. Elena Stratico)

Mad Cow offered a reading of the Spanish-language adaptation by Pablo Neruda.

latinx theatrical adaptation, latinx plays, bilingual classical theatre, Latinx adaptation, Latinx classics

2019 Teatro Vista

Chicago, IL

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Sebastian Arboleda)

Teatro Vista ran two productions with its professional company for student matinees. One was in Shakespearean English, and the other was bilingual, with the Montagues, as well as the Nurse, and other servants, as Spanish speakers. Arboleda directed them both with the same eleven-person cast.

2019 Classic Theater of San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Joe Goscinski)
Link to full article

This production was set on the west side of San Antonio with the Montagues as white and the Capulets of Mexican heritage.

All ephemera courtesy of Classic Theater of San Antonio

2020 Central Florida Community Arts (CFCArts)

Orlando, FL

Dos Familias

by Joe Falocco

Adaptation and Translation by Alfredo Michel Modenessi

(dir. Joshian Morales)

Link to full article

Joe Falocco details his process and the multiple stagings of this play in the essay below.

Dos Familias by Joe Falocco
Courtesy of Joe Falocco
All ephemera courtesy of Southwestern College Theatre Arts Department

2020 Southwestern College

Chula Vista, CA

Romeo and Juliet

(dir. Ruff Yeager)
Link to full article

This semi-bilingual production performed a dress rehearsal for an audience just before the shutdown for Covid-19.

2020 TEATRX

Houston, TX

Balcony Scene in Quarantine
by Ashley Parra & David Derringer

(dir. Benito Vasquez and David Derringer)
Link to full article

TEATRX created virtual bilingual theatre shortly after the outset of COVID-19.

All images courtesy of TEATRX

2021 - present

2021 Winding Road Theater Ensemble

Tuscon, AZ

Wetback

by Elaine Romero

(dir. Sean Daniels)

Formerly Undocumented, Elaine Romero's adaptation is set in the present in a border city. A reading of Wetback was presented in the month-long celebration of Romero's oeuvre, RomeroFest.

Artwork by and Courtesy of Erick Dávila
Artwork by and Courtesy of Erick Dávila

2021 The Public Theater

New York, NY

Romeo y Julieta
Adapted by Saheem Ali & Ricardo Pérez González
Translations by: Alfredo Michel Modenessi

(dir. Saheem Ali)

This bilingual radio play starred Lupita Nyong'o and Juan Castano in the titular roles. It is available to hear and/or read, and there are subtitles in English and Spanish. 

All ephemera courtesy of Apollinaire Theatre Company

2021 Apollinaire Theatre Co

Chelsea, MA

Romeo + Juliet

(dir. Danielle Fauteux Jacques))

Apollinaire created a bilingual, immersive adaptation staged outdoors, in and through the streets of Chelsea. It ran ninety minutes and was free and open to the public. Apollinaire has staged numerous bilingual productions.

2022 California Shakespeare Theater

Orinda, CA

Romeo y Juliet

by Karen Zacarías

(dir. KJ Sanchez)

Originally slated for 2020 but canceled due to COVID-19, this bilingual play is set in California in 1848. Both Romeo and Juliet were cast and played as women. 

latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, california shakespeare, bilingual theatre, bilingual shakespeares

2022 Seattle Shakespeare

Seattle, WA

Romeo y Julieta
Adapted and Translated by: Ana María Campoy
Adapted for the Screen by: Sophie Franco

(dir. Caro Zeller)

This production incorporated Spanish, Spanglish, Latinx and queer cultures.

All ephemera courtesy of Seattle Shakespeare Company

2022 Cabrillo Community College

Aptos, CA

Romeo and Julieta

(dir. Abel Cornejo)

This bilingual production set the action in Mexico City in 1910 during Día de los Muertos. The script was in both contemporary English and Spanish.

All ephemera courtesy of Cabrillo Community College
Romeo & Juliet in a Time of Hate

2022 Teatro del Pueblo

St. Paul, MN

Love in a Time of Hate
by Alberto Justiniano

(dir. Alberto Justiniano)

This play is in development, and it is mostly in English with some Spanish. It is set in the future to illuminate the environmental and political issues of today.

2023 New York University in Florence

Firenze, Italia

Romeo and Juliet: Dos Boricuas y Un Poco Mierda y Poesía by Mona Mansour

(dir. Jim Calder)

Lebanese-American playwright Mona Mansour conceived of this project in partnership with the director and the two actresses who performed the piece, Keren Lugo and Karina Curet, both graduates of NYU's MFA in Acting.

bottom of page