Justin Guarini Joins Broadway's 'Romeo and Juliet'

Matt Beard
Justin Guarini

The "American Idol" alumnus will test his Shakespearean chops in the upcoming production starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad.

NEW YORK -- Broadway has been awash during the past decade in American Idol contestants sidestepping into musical theater. But season-one runner-up Justin Guarini will go a step further late this summer when he joins the ensemble cast of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

While Guarini has performed on Broadway in the musicals American Idiot and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, this will mark his first time in a play -- let alone one of the classics. He will undertake the role of Paris, a noble rival to Romeo for the affections of Juliet, and unlike him, a suitor sanctioned by her parents.

As previously announced, the star-crossed lovers will be played by Orlando Bloom, making his Broadway debut, and two-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad, stirring interracial divisiveness into the tragedy's tale of feuding families and the innocent casualties of hatred.

Directed by David Leveaux, the original-language/modern-setting production starts preview performances Aug. 24 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with an official opening night Sept. 19.

Also joining the cast is Christian Camargo as Romeo's best buddy, Mercutio. In addition to roles in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and on Showtime's Dexter, Camargo recently completed his feature directing debut, Days and Nights, a modern retelling of Chekhov's The Seagull, in which he stars with Katie Holmes, William Hurt and Jean Reno. Also in the cast are Camargo's wife, Juliet Rylance, and father-in-law, Mark Rylance.

Playing Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet is Roslyn Ruff, who won the Lucille Lortel Award for best actress last season for her role in the Off Broadway revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson.

Other new additions to the ensemble are Conrad Kemp as Benvolio, Corey Hawkins as Tybalt and Geoffrey Owens as Escalus. They join previously announced castmembers Brent Carver (Friar Laurence), Jayne Houdyshell  (The Nurse) and Chuck Cooper (Lord Capulet).