Curtain Theatre Romeo & Juliet

Curtain Theatre’s Romeo & Juliet: Nic Moore (Romeo), Dale Leonheart (Juliet)
Photo by Russell Johnson.

In 2023, the Curtain Theatre, Mill Valley’s theatrical treasure returns, to the pinnacle of the classics: Romeo & Juliet, the tragic tale written by William Shakespeare early in his career about the romance between two Italian youths from feuding families. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers. The play is given the tagline: “Dysfunctional families, violence, and young love. A perfect tragedy.”

Free! No tickets or reservations.

Having produced free theater in Old Mill Park for more than 20 years, and with performance dates that span Aug. 12+13, Aug. 19+20, Aug. 26+27 & Sept. 2+3+4. (all showtimes 2pm), it comes as no surprise that the theatrical juggernaut is the subject of a recent Mill Valley Historical Review piece.

Always intuitive scribe and historical dynamo Abby Wasserman wrote of the performance of “As You Like It”: “The idea to stage Shakespeare in Old Mill Park was John Leonard’s. What better way to celebrate Mill Valley’s Centennial on Memorial Day weekend than with one of the Bard’s funniest, most endearing plays? John is a former city council member and mayor. He has been involved in countless community boards and committees, many of them in the arts. “I thought of the play as counterculture, because the plot counterposes a noble court exiled to the forest with wicked rulers in the city,” John said recently. “It would be centennial counterculture in a humorous mode, and we would be in a forest.” His first thought was to get Steve Coleman to design the set. Steve Coleman is a Mill Valley local, born in Switzerland but raised here. He’s the resident designer at 142 Throckmorton Theatre.


This season, Curtain veteran Steve Beecroft directs this year’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” which runs from Aug. 12 to Sept. 4 in Old Mill Park. The Marin Independent Journal recently wrote a story on Beecroft, who originally was a dancer. He choreographed “West Side Story” at Cambridge University, and played the part of Riff in that. Under the Curtain name, he choreographed “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” which is basically Shakespeare, “Star Trek” and rock ‘n’ roll, and that won a bunch of awards. And the fight choreography, “I have always done that. Give me a sword on stage and I’m a happy person,” he told the IJ.

Beecroft says he “started to work on Romeo & Juliet right after he directed “Henry IV, Part 1” back in 2018. “I went to Italy after that and was in Verona, which is one of my favorite cities in Italy. I was sitting at dinner and I just started to write notes in the sides of it and how I would want to perform the play. Doing one of the most well-known plays, for me, it’s a different type of challenge. Even in the wonderful poetry and story that’s there, you can make it more full than it’s portrayed. That’s what I plan to do.”


Curtain Theatre has open seating on chairs and benches in a shaded redwood grove behind the Mill Valley Public Library.


Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!