×

Orlando Bloom: ‘It’s Really Hard Not to Sound Pretentious’ With Shakespeare

"Romeo and Juliet" opens on Broadway

Orlando Bloom said it best, just after his opening night performance Sept. 19 in the Broadway revival of “Romeo and Juliet.”

“It’s really hard not to sound pretentious when you’re talking about Shakespeare,” he enthused at the afterparty at the Edison Ballroom. “It’s poetry, man.”

That it is — some of the most well-known poetry in the English language. And at the party that night, creatives couldn’t stop raving about that guy Shakespeare.

But Bloom thinks for most people, it’s that they think they know “Romeo and Juliet” as the iconic tale of of young, tragic romance, not that they’re truly familiar with the play itself.

He used to be in the same boat himself. “I’d never seen the play, and I don’t recall studying it in school,” he said. “Maybe because I wasn’t the best of students.”

Director David Leveaux said there’s a distinct overlap between Shakespeare and modern musicals — not because the language is so musical, but because the writing is so compressed and economical and practical, in terms of driving the plot along. “You can tell Shakespeare worked with actors,” he said. “There’s nothing in that language they can object to.”

The vitality of the Bard’s language was a recurring theme at the party, where well-wishers included Liev Schreiber and “Orange is the New Black” cast members Uzo Aduba and Danielle Brooks. There was also Phylicia Rashad, mother of the actress who plays Juliet, Condola Rashad.

Popular on Variety

Sure, all that talk about “the vitality of the language” got artsy-fartsy. But for Condola, the proof of that vitality was in the language. “Normally when I’m in a show, it’s the end of the night and I’m exhausted. I’m like, ‘Good night, I don’t wanna talk about it,'” she said. “But with this show I have all this energy. I’m ready to do it again!”

More Legit

  • Protesters demonstrate at the Broadway opening

    'West Side Story' Broadway Opening Night Sparks Protests

    Roughly 100 protestors gathered outside the Broadway premiere of “West Side Story” on Thursday night, carrying placards and chanting in unison to demand the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ramasar has got to go,” they cried while holding signs that read “Keep predators off the stage,” “Sexual predators shouldn’t get [...]

  • West Side Story review

    'West Side Story': Theater Review

    Whittled down to one hour and forty-five minutes, “West Side Story” – with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins — has grown exceedingly dark and mislaid some of its moving parts in the new Broadway revival from edgy Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. (Can [...]

  • The Inheritance review

    'The Inheritance' Closing in March After Box Office Struggles

    “The Inheritance,” a sprawling and ambitious epic that grappled with the legacy of the AIDS epidemic, will close on March 15. The two-part play has struggled mightily at the box office despite receiving strong reviews. Last week, it grossed $345,984, or 52% of its capacity, a dispiriting number for a show that was reported to [...]

  • MCC theater presents 'Alice By Heart'

    Steven Sater on Adapting 'Alice by Heart' From a Musical to a Book

    When producers approached lyricist Steven Sater (“Spring Awakening”) to adapt Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” into a musical, his initial reaction was to recoil. His initial thought was that the book didn’t have a beginning, middle and an ending. But Sater pulled it off with his production of “Alice By Heart.” After an off-Broadway [...]

  • The Lehman Trilogy review

    Sam Mendes' 'Lehman Trilogy' Kicks off Ahmanson's New Season

    Sam Mendes’ “The Lehman Trilogy,” which took London’s West End by storm will be part of the Ahmanson’s lineup for the 2020-21 season. It will be joined by Broadway hits “Hadestown” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Artistic director Michael Ritchie announced the season that will also feature four fan favorites and another production to be [...]

  • Zoe Caldwell Dead

    Zoe Caldwell, Four-Time Tony Winner, Dies at 86

    Zoe Caldwell, an Australian actress with a talent for illuminating the human side of imposing icons such as Cleopatra and Maria Callas in a career that netted her four Tony Awards, died on Sunday due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to her son Charlie Whitehead. She was 86. Caldwell occasionally appeared in television and [...]

  • Cambodian Rock Band interview

    Listen: How 'Cambodian Rock Band' Became One of the Most Produced Plays in the U.S.

    One of the hottest trends in American theater this season is Cambodian surf rock from the 1970s — and that’s thanks to “Cambodian Rock Band.” Listen to this week’s Stagecraft podcast below: Playwright Lauren Yee’s genre-bending stage show, part family drama and part rock concert, has become one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. this season. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content