“Romeo and Juliet” cast selected

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Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Time is the biggest challenge facing the cast and crew, director says.

By Pam Paz

When deciding whom she will select for a role, the program coordinator for theater, Instructor Paula Rodriguez, said she asks herself, “Will this person fit? Can I see that person playing that role on stage?”

Rodriguez will be directing the fine arts department’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” April 17-27.

The cast was posted Thursday after two days of auditions that drew 20 hopefuls for 18 roles.

The talent pool was high and decisions were hard to make, she said during an interview Thursday.

“The ones who auditioned well were the ones who were disciplined and most prepared. But it was hard to decide because they all did so well,” Rodriguez said.

Ultimately, it’s an instinct directors have that enables them to select the right person for a role, she said.

“It’s really hard to define … you just know it,” she said.

Her passion for drama began in middle school when a memorable teacher introduced her to theater, and she became hooked. She has 20 years of directing experience.

Rodriguez described the task of a theatrical production as “a long, complicated process.” Rehearsals will begin Monday.

Students will begin memorizing lines and working with the technical crew, who play an integral part of the show’s production.

Rodriguez has narrowed down the process to five steps: research, character development, staging, run-throughs, and, finally, show time.

Rodriguez is taking a traditional approach for this production. The goal is to produce a show that will allow the audience to follow the story.

“I tend to focus on the storyline and the relationship of the characters and not, let’s say, a high concept,” Rodriguez said, “This won’t be a Romeo and Juliet that is set in 2014 on the streets of New York City. It’s going to be one where you imagine the streets of Verona, Italy, during the Renaissance.”

The biggest challenge facing Rodriguez and her cast and crew will be time. Balancing everyone’s schedule and making the most out of their rehearsals is key to making this production successful, she said.

Rehearsals are Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and they will prepare for a little over 10 weeks.

“The majority of the actors are full-time students. A lot of them have part-time and even full-time jobs so it’s always time management that is difficult,” Rodriguez said.

With a little more than two months to prepare, Rodriguez is confident the students will succeed because they have set high expectations for themselves.

The play will premiere 6 p.m. April 17 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center. Additional showings are 6 p.m. April 18-19 and 24-26 and 2 p.m. April 27.

“Romeo and Juliet” cast

Romeo: Adolfo Lambert

Juliet: Esther Padilla

Mercutio/Friar John: Eric Alvarado

Tybalt/Apothecary: Mason Ortiz

Benvolio: Andy Silva

Friar Laurence: Brian Hill

Capulet: Michael Zalontz

Lady Capulet: Jessica Roberts

Nurse: Monica Jimenez

Peter/Gregory: Nathan Mesa

Paris: Wes Billiat

Sampson/Masked Reveler: Gerardo Martinez

Balthasar/Servant: Zachary Ramon

Abraham/Musician Servant: Ryan Coronado

Servant/Page: April Rodriguez

Lady Montague: Briana Palazzo

Rosaline/Page: Malena Mejia-Abad

Escalus/Queen Mab: Lia Trevino

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