Star Crossed Lovers Appear On Stage In Scotch Plains

Kelly Freeman as Juliet and Brenden Paternostro as Romeo

SCOTCH PLAINS — December will be a big month for The Academy for Performing Arts which is housed on the Union County Vocational Technical High School Campus. “Romeo and Juliet” will be arriving Dec. 2 and running through Dec. 4 in the Black Box Theatre.

This will mark the first production to be presented in the newly constructed building and will feature over 30 actors on stage and another 30 working behind the scenes.


Brenden Paternostro, who plays the tragic lover Romeo had this to say, “Working in the black box in our own building has been surreal and just being a part of such a great production has been even more rewarding.”

“I could not be more proud- the students are so dedicated to refining their craft and they have made a tremendous commitment to themselves and each other. I can’t wait for opening night!” said Scott Rubin, principal of The Academy for Performing Arts.

“Romeo and Juliet” is William Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy that tells the tale of young people falling in love but their lives are left in the hands of their two feuding families the Capulets and Montagues. Abundant with sword fighting, dancing and humor this tragedy will entertain all audience members.

Kelly Freeman, who will be playing Juliet, says, “I am not expecting this show to be any less than great with all the hard work, dedication, and talent the entire cast, crew, and director are all putting into it. I can’t wait for opening night!”

Students have been rehearsing since September and crews have been tirelessly organizing every back stage need in hopes to make this event one that no one will ever forget. Joe Mondi, a sophomore, who portrays Lord Capulet said, “Romeo and Juliet is obviously a classic and has been performed thousands of times, but I guarantee that this performance will be very unique, due to the ‘in the round’ concept and our collaboration with our new director, Mrs. Clemens.”

“Coming into APA as a freshman was very exciting but to also be a part of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ will make it even better! The rehearsals are so much fun and Mrs. Clemens has made this experience enjoyable and professional. We have such a wonderful space, and I know, speaking for the whole cast, we are all pumped to put on an amazing performance!” said Kyra Morling, who will be portraying Mercutio.

Director Tori Clemens is supported by a three-person artistic team. Paul Milea designed and constructed a set that will send viewers back in time to the beautiful land of Verona. Technical Director Chris Grimm has added to the mood by designing the lights and sound for the lovers to meet. Costumes have been elaborately executed by Wendy Sheridan, who is making each character come to life. Wendy’s daughter Ariel is portraying the role of Lady Capulet.

“Theatre can mobilize us and help us see what might be or what we might become. Like our dreams, theatre leads us to undiscovered settings, reveals our deepest passions, and inspires us to make our wildest visions become reality. Believing that we can live our dreams is as important, if not more important, today as ever it was,” stated Clemens.

The show dates are: Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be ordered in advance beginning Nov. 19 at You must reserve tickets in advance so you are assured a seat.

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