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Jersey City's Classical Theatre Company to Re-Launch as The Curtain with "Romeo & Juliet"

originally published: 08/21/2023

Jersey City

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Shakespeare@, Jersey City's premier classical theatre, announced they will re-launch as The Curtain, with an all-new production of William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet. Directed and Adapted by Sean Hagerty, The Curtain’s Romeo & Juliet will play the Nimbus Arts Center (329 Warren Street), in downtown Jersey City just steps from the PATH train, with performances from September 28 through October 22, 2023.

Leading the cast are Aria Shaghasemi (series regular on CW’s “The Originals” & spin-off “Legacies”) as ‘Romeo’ and Italian actress and Venice Film Festival Pasinetti Award winner Anita Pomario (The Macaluso Sisters) as ‘Juliet’, in her American stage debut.

They are joined by Andrew Sellon (Mr. Penn, recurring on FOX’s “Gotham”) as ‘Friar Laurence’, Mark Torres (Amadeus on Broadway) as ‘Capulet’, Thia Stephan (Shakespeare@’s Hamlet and Julius Caesar) as ‘Lady Capulet’, and Christianna Nelson (Shakespeare & Co. member) as ‘The Nurse’. Completing the cast are Joshua T. Crockett, Jonathan Dauermann, Ariel Diaz-Beato, Ido Gal, Tucker Lewis, Francis Mateo, Jomack Miranda, Abel Santiago, Miles Segura, and Mark Torres. Casting is by Robin Carus, CSA.

Beloved by audiences for centuries, Romeo & Juliet tells the unforgettable story of generational divides, forbidden love, and star-crossed fates. Set at the dawn of the Jazz Age, this diverse and star-studded production of the timeless classic features some of Shakespeare’s most breathtaking language and poetry. In partnership with Nimbus Dance, The Curtain’s Romeo & Juliet will feature a rollicking ‘20s dance number.

"I am beyond thrilled to announce our return to stage performance, bringing Shakespeare@ to a new life as The Curtain,” said Sean Hagerty, Producing Artistic Director. “Romeo & Juliet strikes me as the perfect story for our time—and setting it at the dawn of the Jazz Age in 1920 makes absolute sense with its inherent themes of the age-old conflict between the young and the old, new movements vs. the old establishment, and the societal divides that can stifle beauty and destroy love. All of us feel very grateful and fortunate to make our return with this show and this incredible international cast. We are excited to bring our vision back to Jersey City and our devoted audiences.”



 
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The creative team for The Curtain’s Romeo & Juliet will feature Sean Hagerty (Director & Adaptor), William Ward (Costume Design), Olivia Loverde (Lighting Design), the Emmy-winning team Sonic Designs (Sound Design), Nora Leonhardt (Voice and Speech Coach), and Brad Lemons (Fight Director & Intimacy Coordinator). The production will be stage managed by Allison Hohman.

Tickets, all priced at an accessible $25, are now available for purchase at TheCurtain.org.

The Curtain was founded to deliver accessible interpretations of classic works with a focus on international and cross-cultural exchange. Their debut, under the moniker Shakespeare@ Grace Church, was a lush 2019 production of Hamlet starring Jonathan Forbes (Amazon’s “Catastrophe”) and SAG Award nominee Eden Brolin (Paramount’s “Yellowstone”), which garnered rave reviews and was hailed as “theatrical perfection," selling out its run at Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City. After COVID hit in 2020, Producing Artistic Director Sean Hagerty re-structured the company’s format to ensure they continued productions, employed artists, and served their mission by conceiving of the all-sonic performance project, “Shakespeare@ Home”. Partnering with the Emmy-winning team at Sonic Designs, they set out to recapture the great heyday of serialized radio drama of the 1930’s and ‘40’s. The productions, Richard II (starring Jamie Ballard, Harry Potter from the West End’s ...Cursed Child), The Tempest (starring RSC veteran David Hargreaves), and Julius Caesar (starring Tony nominee and Grammy winner Patrick Page) received award nominations and multiple accolades from critics and audiences. They now return to live performance with an international, star-studded production of Romeo & Juliet.



BIOGRAPHIES


SEAN HAGERTY (Producing Artistic Director) trained under Sanford Meisner and studied classical theatre at the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He holds a Masters Degree in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he graduated with Distinction. Sean has worked as an actor, teacher, director, and producer regionally and internationally for many years. Credits include: New York Classical Theatre, The Lord Chamberlain's Men, The Group Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, The Bath Shakespeare Festival, The New Vic, Theatre Royal Bristol, and BBC Radio, among others. Previously, Sean was the resident Shakespeare and Style teacher at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre for over 14 years and was the Associate Artistic Director for New York Classical Theatre. He has served as the chair of Education & Training for the international Shakespeare Theatre Association and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.

CHRISTINE CIRKER (Line Producer) is an Off-Broadway director and producer, focusing primarily on new work and is the Executive Vice-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women. NYC directing credits include works presented by United Solo, Urban Stages, Emerging Artists Theatre, AMT Theater, Lucille Lortel, Pulse Ensemble, Core Ensemble, Neighborhood Playhouse, Our Workshop East, and others. Last year she directed By The Way, Meet Vera Stark and The Cake (Naples Players, FL). Christine has been a member of The Barrow Group community for 20+ years. Notable TBG productions include Awake by K. Lorrel Manning (Associate Director/Dramaturg), Perp by Lyle Kessler (Assistant Director). With Lee Brock, she is producing director for F.A.B.Women@tbg (TBG’s women’s development group) where she has directed and produced since 2010. Other NY producing credits include: Chasing Happy (Pulse Theatre - opening fall 2023), Strings Attached (Pulse Theatre), Letters to Sala by Arlene Hutton, Renata Hinrich’s Random Acts, Jean Taylor’s The Basement PlaysThe R Word and Downsizing for Our Workshop East, Einstein & Mileva (Theatre Row). In the independent film world, Christine is Associate Producer for the documentary feature Would Your Hide Me? [in distribution] and is currently on the producing team for the short film, The Red Shoe. Graduate of University of Michigan

ARIA SHAGHASEMI (Romeo) was born in Minneapolis, MN. He made his debut as ‘Davis Bennett’ in the 2015 series, “Unforgettable”. In 2016, Aria was featured as ‘Omar’ in the drama series, “Law & Order”. He came to fame in his role as ‘Landon Kirby’ in the CW show, “The Originals”, and it’s hit spin-off “Legacies”.



 
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ANITA POMARIO (Juliet) is an Italian actress based in London. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she received her Masters Degree. Credits incl.: ‘Giuseppina’ in Fireworks the debut feature film by Giuseppe Fiorello; ‘Pinuccia’ in The Macaluso Sisters (dir. Emma Dante), presented at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and Winner of the Pasinetti Prize for best female cast & 5 Silver Ribbons; and “The Art of Joy” by Valeria Golino which will premiere on Sky Television in 2024.

JOSHUA T. CROCKETT (Samson) is a member of SAG-AFTRA. He holds a BFA in Acting from Montclair State University. Joshua’s Off-Off-Broadway theater credits include Drought at Teatro Latea and Sometime, Child at the Theater for the New City. Film & TV credits include Naked Singularity, “FBI: Most Wanted”, “Saturday Night Live”, and “East New York”.

JONATHAN DAUERMANN (Captain of the Guard/Friar John/Apothecary) starred in the leading role of Last Room, an original play inspired by the life of Anthony Bourdain that enjoyed a month-long, sold-out Off-Off-Broadway run as well as rapturous reviews from audiences. Other recent theatre performances include appearances as ‘Mrs. Bumbrake’ in Peter and the Starcatcher, the ‘Porter/First Murderer’ in Macbeth, as well as ‘Telegin’ in Uncle Vanya. On film, Jonathan recently starred in the short film Never Fuggedaboutit, which premiered in competition at the 2023 SXSW Festival. His upcoming films include the feature films Eugene The Marine, starring Scott Glenn, Annette O’Toole and Jim Gaffigan; and Garbage Bag of Broken Bottles, in which Jonathan has a leading role.


ARIEL DIAZ-BEATO (Peter/Abraham). A graduate from the School of Drama at the New School (MFA in Acting) and the City College of New York (BA in Theater). Ariel’s recent work has been on CARAVANA, “Law & Order: Organized Crime”, and A Change in the Neighborhood with the Crossway Theater Company. He’s currently a Theater Facilitator in a non-profit organization called El Puente where he teaches theater to the youth of the neighborhood.

IDO GAL (Balthasar) is an Israeli-American actor. He received dual degrees in Theater (B.A) and Economics (B.A) from the University of Southern California (USC) before beginning to work professionally on both coasts. Most recently, he has voiced several national commercials for companies such as Chipotle and Amazon, and returned to Season 2 of Audible Studios’ narrative series “Highlights Mystery Theater”. Beyond acting, Ido fuses his love for the arts and business as a producer, most recently serving as a co-producer for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window on Broadway.

TUCKER LEWIS (Mercutio) is an actor/writer/producer born in Orlando, FL and raised in Farmington, CT. Always a bit of a show-off from a young age, he grew up playing football, running around the woods and jumping off bridges into the local river. He discovered his passion for acting in college while attending university and studying Shakespeare in London at Goldsmiths. He then graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre and can most recently be seen guest starring on HBO's The Undoing and Hulu/A24's RAMY. Look out for his new original TV pilot, DEMONETIZED, coming soon.

FRANCIS MATEO (Paris). Lunch Bunch (PlayCo.); CallBacks2022 (Teatro Círculo); Love to Love You Baby (Teatro Círculo); Othello (Shakespeare Forum); Hamlet (Shakespeare@); Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare Forum); Love's Labour's Lost (Shakespeare Forum); King Lear (Classical Theater of Harlem); Mother Courage (Public Theater); Red Beads (Mabou Mines); In the Name of Salome (Repertorio Español); La Canción (Repertorio Español); Bad Blood (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater). Film/TV: Cuatro Piezas (Verandi Films); Colonia (Verandi Films); The Holdouts (Savin Rock Entertainment); Fran Gil (Rayoelú Films). Education: M.F.A. Brooklyn College (New York)

JOMACK MIRANDA (Benvolio) is an alum of the Gaiety School of Acting, The National Theatre School of Ireland. International Shakespearean credits include: Hamlet Dir. Joe Dowling and Macbeth Dir. Martin Maguire. New York / Domestic: Romeo & Juliet Dir. Reg Flowers. A Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican Jewish actor, Jomack enjoys diverse projects promoting the hidden stories of marginalized groups.

CHRISTIANNA NELSON (Nurse) is an actor based in New York City. She has performed in numerous plays and devised works Off-Broadway, regionally and internationally. She played Shakespeare's daughter in the Off-Broadway premiere of The Last Will by Robert Brustein, directed by and starring Austin Pendleton. The production traveled to the inaugural Wuzhen Theatre Festival in China. She worked with the late Ruth Maleczech on her last piece, Imagining the Imaginary Invalid. The play, a joint production of Mabou Mines and Tricksaddle starring Marylouise Burke, premiered at LaMaMa in the Ellen Stewart Theatre and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Christianna also collaborated with Tricksaddle on Wickets, a devised piece based on Fefu and her Friends. She is a member of both Tricksaddle Theatre Company and Shakespeare & Company, where she performed for six seasons in both Shakespeare and new plays. At Shakespeare & Co, she starred as Jess in the regional premiere of the award-winning play Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino. Her performance was nominated for a Berkshire Theatre Award. Also at Shakespeare & Company, she performed in the regional premiere of Red Velvet, opposite John Douglas Thompson. She has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, where she was awarded the Hershel Williams Prize for outstanding acting ability. She did her undergraduate work at Harvard University.

ABEL SANTIAGO (Gregory) is an Actor, Poet, Playwright and DJ hailing from Harlem, NY. He first started off in the award winning after school program EPIC Theatre Ensemble in high school. He was the winner of the NYC Branch 2016 National Shakespeare Competition & was a finalist in the top 10 as well. He was recently seen in the historic Negro Ensemble Company in their one act play of Cris Eli Blak’s Clipper Cut Nation which has toured Philadelphia and NYC. He was also featured as ‘Gabriel’ on NBC’s “Law and Order: Organized Crime” this past fall. He just finished a showing of Cris Eli Blak’s play The Former Kings of Clutch City at Playwright Horizons which won a Best Play Award at Downtown Urban Arts Festival. He has a BA in Theatre & Performance from SUNY Purchase College. He now works with EPIC theatre Ensemble and re-entry programs as a teaching artist.



 
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MILES SEGURA (Tybalt) is eager to make his regional theatre debut as ‘Tybalt’ in The Curtain's Romeo and Juliet. As a lover of all things Shakespeare, he is beyond thankful for this wonderful opportunity. Miles is from upstate New York, and moved to NYC in 2019 for college. In May of 2023 Miles graduated from NYU Tisch Drama's Stella Adler Studio.

ANDREW SELLON (Friar Laurence). ‘Mr. Penn/The Ventriloquist/Scarface’ on Fox TV’s “Gotham”. Other Film/TV: Begin AgainThe SmurfsMamarosh; “The Blacklist”, “Mysteries of Laura”, “Divorce”, “The Good Fight”. New York and Regional Theatre: ‘Fool’ in King Lear, ‘Gremio’ in Taming of the Shrew (NY Classical); ‘Charlie’ in The Foreigner, ‘Vanya’ in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, ‘Jim Casy’ in The Grapes of Wrath, ‘Clown’ in The 39 Steps, ‘Vladimir’ in Waiting for Godot, all 35 roles in I Am My Own Wife, ‘Bazzard’ in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Original solo play: Through the Looking-Glass Darkly, about Lewis Carroll and Alice. MFA (Acting): UNC-Chapel Hill; BA cum laude (English): Harvard. Faculty member (Public Performance): Western Colorado University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program.

THIA STEPHAN (Lady Capulet). For Shakespeare@: ‘Gertrude’ in Hamlet, ‘Calphurnia’ in Julius Caesar. Broadway: Assistant Director on multiple projects. Regional: Footloose (Norwegian Cruise Lines), Bat BoyBy The Great Horn Spoon (Laguna Playhouse); Dark Rapture (Florida Stage); HeisenbergOur Country’s Good (Crooked Tree); Much AdoAntony & Cleopatra (National American Shakespeare); The MousetrapNight Must Fall (Caldwell); The Lady’s Not for BurningEquus (Ice House); more. Other Local Classical: MidsummerR&J (Harlem Summer Shakespeare); Richard III (Boomerang); CymbelineTitus Andronicus (Queens Company). TV: “Maisel” (Amazon), “Billions” (Showtime), “Time Traveler’s Wife” (HBO), “Gotham” (FOX), “Titus” (FOX), “Family Law” (CBS), “Becker” (CBS), “Seven Days” (UPN). Extensive Voiceover. Training: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (Atlantic, Playwrights Horizons), Additional study at Goldsmiths, University of London.

MARK TORRES (Capulet) is a professional actor and director, based out of New York City and upstate New York. Most recent film and TV credits include "FBI: Most Wanted" on CBS, "Law and Order: Organized Crime" on NBC, "Uncoupled" on Netflix, "Dexter" on Showtime, "Dr. Death" on Peacock Streaming Service, "Manifest" on NBC, "Designated Survivor" on Netflix and several films on the Lifetime Movie channel. Mark played Polonius in a virtual reality film of Hamlet which was produced by Commonwealth Shakespeare, Sensorium Productions, and Google. Mark served as Producing Artistic Director for 13 years at Penobscot Theatre/Maine Shakespeare Festival in Bangor, Maine where he also served on the Maine Arts Commission. Prior to working in Maine, he was Artistic Director of Moving Target Theatre in Dallas. Mark was a member of the original Broadway cast of Amadeus which won 5 Tony Awards and starred Ian McKellen and Tim Curry. As a director, stage manager and/or actor, Mark has worked on Broadway, and at such regional theatres as Trinity Repertory in Providence, R.I., Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Shakespeare Festival, The Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, The Plaza Theatre in Dallas, Center Stage in Baltimore, Melody Top Theatre in Milwaukee, Ocean State Theatre, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Shakespeare on the Sound, Music Theatre of Connecticut, The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and The Theatre at Monmouth. Mark also works extensively as a voice actor.


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