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Rehearsals begin Tuesday for Shakespeare

Staff reports

VIRGINIA CITY – Rehearsals are beginning this week for the Nevada Shakespeare Festival’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Artistic Director Jeanmarie Simpson calls it their “crowning achievement.”

This is the first time the Nevada Shakespeare Festival has done “Romeo and Juliet,” Simpson said.

Guest Director David Ellenstein’s version is of a company of actors performing Romeo and Juliet in Renaissance Verona.

“It’s going to be the finest Shakespeare,” Simpson said. “We have some of the world’s best Shakespearean actors.”

Simpson will be playing Lady Capulet, Juliet’s mother.

“I have a teenage daughter, and the things she says to Juliet really resonate with me,” Simpson said.

Simpson has also played Lady Macbeth and Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude.

“It’s been artistically helpful to me to play these flawed women,” she said.

Simpson also said the NSF is lucky to get to work with the guest artists.

“That’s the golden egg to work with these preeminent world class artists,” she added.

Katie Sweeney of Reno will play Juliet Capulet.

“I’m very excited about the project, it’s a dream role,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney, 22, and said she realized if she didn’t play this role now she probably would never be able to.

Sweeney has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and has performed in numerous theater productions.

“The prospect of working with the guest director and actors is very thrilling,” Sweeney said. “It’s amazing how quickly the NSF is taking off.”

Some of the guest artists include, Lynne Griffin as the nurse, J. Todd Adams as Mercutio, James C. Anderson as Friar Lawrence and Jeffrey Cannata as Romeo.

There will be a concert style preview of “Romeo and Juliet” at Bartley Ranch Sept. 14 and 15 with a reception at 6 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m.

The actual production will run for six weeks beginning Sept. 21.