In our team’s production of Romeo and Juliet, there is a big mix of the traditional characters and their personalities, and an altered storyline into a modern period. This is something I have kept in thought when selecting music, so that tracks that link specifically to a singular character are reflective of their personality, and in some cases move to traditional music, but in other cases are more modern songs.
As a specific example from the Track List, No. 6, At The Capulet’s, takes place at a party in the Capulet’s house. Capulet invites guests to his party and encourages everyone to dance. For this track, I selected All You Gotta Do, because it has the same level of enthusiasm you would find in the party and is a modern song that links the play into the correct time period. This creates a nice contrast with other tracks, as an example No. 2, Meeting Romeo, and No. 13. Death of Romeo. Romeo’s tracks are intentionally more classical to give him a unique character that blends with his modern style, but still throws back links to the original Shakespeare play. It is designed that when you hear the more classical styled music, you recognise, “Oh that must be Romeo!”
Another consideration is that most of the music does not have lyrics, so that dialogue on stage can be heard with the music in the background. There are some exceptions where songs still have lyrics, but these are scenes that have little or no dialogue, e.g. Love Dance, No. 9.
Finally, songs were chosen with consideration on how their lyrics reflected or foreshadowed elements of the story. As an example, look at No. 12, Romeo And Juliet. The song selected is Bang Bang by Will.I.Am. Following modern versions of Romeo and Juliet, it foreshadows Juliet's suicide with a gun with the lyric bang which is constantly repeated. Another track with this same consideration is No. 14, Juliet Alone, with the track Nothing Breaks Like A Heart, indicating her love for dead Romeo.
I’m sure that you will enjoy the play, and be immersed with the tracks that accompany the show.
Jonathan Vardouniotis - Sound Designer
Dialogue Excerpt, acted by Kye Marsh & Penelope Love
Music Track Playlist on YouTube Music, compiled by Jonathan Vardouniotis