Shakespeare's Classical Tale of Love and Tragedy...
We open in Verona, Italy. The Capulets and Montagues, two prestigious families, have been feuding violently for many years. Lord Capulet is hosting a costume party, and has shared his guest list with a young man named Paris. Paris happens to be in love with Lord Capulet’s daughter, Juliet. Capulet tasks his servant, Peter, with offering their home to anyone on Lord Capulet’s guest list. Peter, however, cannot read. He enlists the help of two young men named Romeo and Mercutio. Romeo and Mercutio agree to hide their Montague identities and attend the feast.
At the party, Romeo spies Juliet and falls in love with her instantly. Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) recognizes Romeo’s voice and becomes angry. Lord Capulet warns him to keep his temper—he will not tolerate any violence at his party. Tybalt storms off bitterly, and Romeo and Juliet share their first kiss. Shortly thereafter, the Nurse delivers the bad news: They are members of warring households.
Later that night, Romeo steals away to Juliet’s balcony. The two profess their love for each other, and Juliet says she will send her nurse to Romeo tomorrow at nine; if he truly loves her, he may send back word that he is ready to marry her.
The next morning, Romeo giddily spills the news of their plan to Friar Laurence. Laurence hopes their marriage will end the age-old feud between their families. Juliet is eagerly awaiting news from her Nurse, who finally reveals that Romeo is indeed waiting for her. The Nurse advises her to go to Laurence’s cell, using confession as an excuse. Juliet arrives, and she and Romeo are married.
That day, Romeo and Mercutio are walking about town. Tybalt arrives, and a quarrel between he and Mercutio escalates into a duel. As Romeo tries to stop the fight, Mercutio incurs a mortal wound at Tybalt’s hand. Romeo slays Tybalt in retaliation. Terrified of the consequences, he returns to Friar Laurence. The Friar shelters him and delivers word of his sentencing by the Prince: Romeo is to be banished from Verona.
Romeo is distraught and ready to take his own life. The Friar says he will try and appeal to the Prince on Romeo’s behalf, and to reconcile the Capulets and the Montagues once and for all. He suggests that Romeo leave for Mantua early the next morning. Emboldened by their new plan, Romeo and Juliet secretly reunite at the Capulet home.
Seeking to comfort his grieving daughter over the death of her cousin, Lord Capulet delivers what he believes will be joyful news: He has arranged for her to marry Paris on Thursday! He is puzzled and angered by her tearful response, and gives her an ultimatum: She will marry Paris, or he will disown her. Juliet runs to Friar Laurence, seeking his council. There she encounters Paris, who is making arrangements for their wedding. Again using the excuse of needing to confess, she is able to meet with the Friar in secret. He sends her home with a potion that will make her appear dead, and tells her to take it the night before her supposed wedding. He promises to send a letter to Romeo, telling him to meet her in the Capulet burial chamber. The potion works, and Juliet is assumed dead by everyone.
Friar Lawrence’s letter does not reach Romeo-instead he is greeted by Peter, who report’s Juliet’s “death.” Romeo and Paris fight at her tomb. Paris is slain. Looking to end his crushing grief, Romeo drinks a vial of deadly poison. Juliet wakes, expecting a reunion with her husband. Instead she finds his cold, lifeless body. Unable to cope, she takes Romeo’s dagger and ends her life. When the Capulet and Montague families learn what has happened, they acknowledge that their collective actions cost Romeo and Juliet their lives. Finally, the parents agree to go forward in the spirit of change and reconciliation.