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George Cukuor: If you two kids want to make a little extra money
before you go off, why don't you put on and send on the road Romeo
and Juliet? You could make a fortune in no time at all.*
Written by: William Shakespeare
Directed: Laurence Olivier
Scenery and Costumes By: Motley
Lighting: Robert Edmond Jones
Photos by: Laszlo Willinger
Locations: San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; Washington D.C.
51st Theatre, New York: May 9, 1940.
Cast: Vivien Leigh (Juliet), Laurence Olivier (Romeo), Dame May Whitty (Nurse), Edmund O'Brien (Mercutio), Cornel Wilde (Tybald), Alexander Knox (Friar Laurence), Wesley Addy (Benvolio), Carleton Hobbs (Capulet), Katharine Warren (Lady Capulet), Ben Webster (Montague), Barbara Horder (Lady Montague), Frank Downing (Paris), Hazel Brown (Rosaline), Morton L. Stevens (Old Capulet and Friar John), Walter Brooke (Chief Officer), Jack Merivale (Balthasar), Robert Busch (Abraham), Joseph Tomes (Gregory), William Barrows (Sampson), Wilton Graff (Escalus).
A staff correspondent for a Chicago daily: The much heralded production of Romeo and Juliet, with Miss Leigh and Laurence Olivier as the star-crossed lovers, becomes a personal triumph for Miss Leigh of a kind to make even Scarlett O'Hara seem meager. Our stages have held many excellent Romeos and perhaps that is why Olivier's performance seemed less remarkable than Miss Leigh's. She has the great benefit of immediate contrast with generation of Juliets less than ideal; Juliets who were stiff of oratorical or middle-aged or even fat. Here the audience beheld a breathless girl, an adolescent in every detail of behavior, lovelorn and gay and terrified as the drama marched along… certainly this English girl is the find of many seasons.
Some critic: ...and then, believe or not, we were required to sit and watch this absurd grotesquerie for an unbelievable prolongation of time, before the merciful stage manager relieved our sights of the painful spectacle...*
Photos: Visit the Photo gallery
*The autobiography of the greatest actor of our times.
CONFESSIONS OF AN ACTOR
Copyright Wheelshare Ltd, 1982