Shakespeare’s never sounded quite like this before. This is the Bard meets Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, as one of his most iconic characters, Juliet, gets her very own jukebox musical.
Set to the smash hits of legendary songwriter Max Martin, who has penned pop anthems for Katy Perry and Ariana Granda, & Juliet imagines an alternative ending for its tragic heroine. David West Read’s book wonders what if, instead of running of with Romeo to her untimely death, Juliet had carved out a whole other story for herself? As the curtain nears and that final scene plays out, she picks up the dagger and…makes a dash for it. & Juliet proves there’s life after Romeo.
Juliet was a teenager in Shakespeare’s script – just 14 when she met Romeo that night – so it makes perfect sense to set her new story to pop. And no-one pumped up out pop anthems quite like Max Martin. Songs like Hit Me Baby One More Time and Larger Than Life have blasted out of teenager’s bedrooms the world over and now they’ve been sumptuously arranged for the stage by Grammy Award-winning orchestrator Bill Sherman.
Directed by the rising young musical director Luke Sheppard, who scored a big Olivier Award-winning hit with the UK premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, & Juliet is stuffed with top-drawer West End talent. Miriam Teak-Lee, fresh out of Hamilton, will take the lead role and she’s joined by Cassidy Jackson (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) and Oliver Tompsett (Kinky Boots).
No new musical is ever a dead cert but it’s easy to appreciate & Juliet’s appeal. If a quality creative team including award-winning set designer Soutra Gilmour and choreographer Jennifer Weber can bring all the elements together, the combination of Shakespeare plus pop songs could prove unbeatable. Music may very well be the food of love and & Juliet will probably play on and on and on.