Romeo and Juliet

A tragedy by William Shakespeare, arranged in two parts and twenty-three scenes by Katharine Cornell. Opened at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, December 20, 1934, (following the seven-month U.S. tour) and ran for 77 performances. Produced by Katherine Cornell, staged by Guthrie McClintic, settings by Jo Mielziner, dance direction by Martha Graham, music by Paul Nordoff.

Cast of characters

Escalus, Prince of Verona Reynolds Evans
Paris George Macready
Montague John Miltern
Capulet Moroni Olsen
An Old Man Arthur Chatterton
Romeo Basil Rathbone
Mercutio Brian Aherne
Benvolio John Emery
Tybalt Orson Welles
Friar Laurence Charles Waldron
Friar John Paul Julian
Balthasar Franklyn Gray
Sampson Joseph Holland
Peter David Vivian
Gregory Robert Champlain
Abraham Irving Morrow
An Apothecary Arthur Chatterton
Officer Irving Morrow
Lady Montague Brenda Forbes
Lady Capulet Irby Marshal
Juliet Katherine Cornell
Nurse to Juliet Edith Evans
A Street Singer Edith Allaire
Guards Angus Duncan, Ralph Nelson
Citizens of Verona, Kinsfolk of Both Houses, Maskers, Guards, Watchmen and Attendants Margaret Craven, Jacqueline De Wit, Lois Jameson, Agnete Johannson, Ruth March, Pamela Simpson, Gilmore Bush, John Gordon Gage, William Hopper, Albert McCleery, Charles Thorne
Chorus Orson Welles

Katherine Cornell and Rathbone
Katharine Cornell and Rathbone

Part I, Scenes 1 and 11 Public Place in Verona, Mantua
Scenes 2 and 4
Capulet's House
Scenes 3 and 8
Street in Verona
Scene 5
By Wall of Capulet's House
Scenes 6 and 9
Capulet's Orchard
Scenes 7 and 10
Friar Laurence's Cell

Part II, Scenes 12, 15, 18 and 20 Juliet's Bedroom
Scenes 13 and 16
Friar Laurence's Cell
Scenes 14, 17 and 19
Capulet's House
Scene 21
Street in Mantua
Scene 22
Outside Friar Laurence's Cell
Scene 23
Tomb of the Capulets

Rathbone first played the role of Romeo in 1915, with the New Shakespeare Company. It was his favorite Shakespeare role, so he eagerly accepted Katherine Cornell's invitation to play Romeo opposite her Juliet. During the U.S. tour Orson Welles played the part of Mercutio.

"The version of 'Romeo and Juliet' used by Miss Cornell divides the play into two acts, intermission following Romeo's flight to Mantua."

[from The Best Plays of 1934-35, ed. by Burns Mantle (Dodd, Mead and Co., 1935), page 424-425.]

Rathbone as Romeo, photo by Hal Phyffe

Katherine Cornell and Rathbone, photo by Edward Steichen

Katherine Cornell and Rathbone

Close-up of above photo

Katherine Cornell and Rathbone

Katherine Cornell and Rathbone

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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2009