Troupe performs ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at local venue; See photos of the cast

The Valley Shakespeare Festival's logo.
The Valley Shakespeare Festival’s logo.

The Valley Shakespeare Festival (VSF) is back and it’s ready for one awesome show.

Now in its third season, the local theater group will be presenting the bard’s Romeo and Juliet, just in time for Valentine’s Day. (See photos of the cast at the bottom of this article.)

“There will be seven actors presenting the tale of woe with Romeo and Juliet,” said Shelton native Tom Simonetti, founder of VSF.

The actors are local to the Valley and from New York. The performance will be Saturday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Derby Neck Library, 307 Hawthorne Ave., Derby.

Men to play some female roles

Of the seven actors, six of them are male, so there will be some men playing female roles, as was typical in Shakespeare’s era. Simonetti will be playing Lady Capulet, who is Juliet’s mom, and the character Tybalt, who is Lady Capulet’s nephew and Romeo’s rival.

“We actually have two teenagers playing the role of Romeo and Juliet,” said Simonetti. “They’re both from Trumbull. Alex Luft is Juliet and Michael Lepore as Romeo.”

Alex is the only female in the play.

“I think having all guys in the play makes it a pressure cooker feel,” said Simonetti.

Condensed, intense version

Romeo and Juliet is an intense, sometimes violent play. It  has been adapted by VSF. It will be about 90 minutes long, but was written longer.

“Shakespeare did the same thing in his day,” shortening when needed, said Simonetti. What’s timeless about Shakespeare plays is, as an actor, he knew how to keep audience members entertained.

Romeo and Juliet on Valentine’s Day will feature minimal staging, with a script-in-hand reading. The performance is free, with a suggested donation of $10.


Upcoming show in Shelton

The VSF season continues Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m., with the third offering in VSF’s Shakespeare in the Bar series, Hamlet: The Bad Quarto.

This is a shortened version of the Hamlet play typically known. It’s about half the length. The cast of Hamlet has been set.

“It’s Shakespeare, but it’s different,” said Simonetti.

The performance will be presented at Porky’s Cafe, 50 Center St., Shelton. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For details, go to or call 203-513-9446.

The cast of performers