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Department of Theatre & Dance presents R & J & Z

University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance is proud to announce the next show of its 2021-2022 season: R & J & Z, a play by Melody Bates. The show will feature a cast of actors who are safely distanced and wearing masks.

What happens when you mix blood, guts, and Shakespeare? In Melody Bates’s innovative approach to the Bard’s most famous work, the star-crossed Romeo and Juliet’s story takes on a new life as the undead lovers navigate a treacherous world of magic, madness, and mayhem. Come see this terrifically thrilling and inspired take on Shakespeare classic story set in “fair Verona” during the Zombie Apocalypse. R & J & Z is a fantastical verse play with equal doses of hilarity and horror.

“This play is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had as an actor,” said Aly Milan, who will portray Juliet. “I am always thinking about what happened before the play began to make my characters the way they are, but I already have such a beautiful template (Thank you, Shakespeare!). There is something incredibly unique about taking this classic character and finding ways to explore strength and desire when the constraints of society are no more.  It is unlike anything I’ve had to do, and I can’t wait for the audience to explore the unknown with us.”

R & J & Z is being directed by MFA directing candidate Moises Hinojos and full design collaboration from Scenic Designers Mollie West and Brian Ruggaber, Costume Designer Hattie Fann, Lighting Designer Jenni Propst, Sound Designer Anna Johnson and Projection Designers Corinne Fann and Ian C. Easterwood. Like the cast, the design team and all the students working on the show have been socially distant and wearing masks, keeping everyone safe while creating theatre during the pandemic.

“Designing for R & J & Z is such a unique opportunity where we are able to mesh the aspects of today’s culture with the tradition and style of the Elizabethan era,” said Hattie Fann, a senior student and costume designer. “The ability to keep the original era and traditional aspects of the original source material clothing and costumes but combine it with the energy and vigor of today’s love of anime and zombies leaves us with the striking and invigorating world for the characters to live in. It’s an incredibly amazing and just plain fun opportunity that truly captures the fun and inventive worlds we are allowed to explore and discover within the UofM Theatre & Dance department.”

Each audience member will be asked to comply with the mask mandate while in the theatre building and will be seated using social distancing.


CONTACT:  Alice Berry              (901) 678-3184           aeberry@memphis.edu

TITLE: R & J & Z, a play by Melody Bates

VENUE: Mainstage Theatre, University of Memphis, Theatre Building, 3745 Central Ave.

RUN DATES: October 28-30 and November 4-6, 2021                  TIMES OF SHOWS: 7:30 PM each evening

TICKETS:  $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and non-U of M students, $5 for high school students; U of M students receive a complimentary ticket.   www.memphis.edu/theatre/    901-678-2576

ZOMBIE WALK: Please join the zombie horde as they traverse across the UofM campus on Thursday, October 28th at 2pm. For more information: www.memphis.edu/theatre (costumes are welcomed)

Published inDepartment of Theatre & DanceLive PerformancesNew DevelopmentsUniversity of Memphis

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