Seattle's Child

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Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Lucien Postlewaite and Elizabeth Murphy in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s "Roméo et Juliette." Photo ©

‘Romeo et Juliette’ at Pacific NW Ballet: Best for a parents’ night out (or in)

"Romeo et Juliette" at Pacific Northwest Ballet feels aimed at a grown-up audience.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

At Pacific Northwest Ballet, the classic tale of the star-crossed lovers is not told with passionate speeches but through impassioned dances. Shakespeare in the Park, this is not.

And in fact, in notes accompanying the program, PNB explains that choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot’s version doesn’t emphasize the feuding-families angle of the well-known story but focuses instead on “the dualities and ambiguities of adolescence.”

On stage at Seattle’s McCaw Hall for another weekend (four performances Feb. 11-13, 2022), this “Romeo et Juliette” feels stark, edgy, dark at times.

The stripped-down set and costumes in mostly neutral shades emphasize the very talented dancers and the story they tell with their movements.

The things that make this staging so striking would, I think, put the show out of reach for most kids. There are no brilliant colors or frilly costumes, lush forest scenes, whimsical creatures or giant nutcrackers (obviously). A young student of ballet or devotee of Shakespeare might appreciate this production on a mature level, but I suspect it would be lost on most others.

In addition, there is the issue of the tragic ending. That might not be what you had in mind when you set out to expose your kids to the performing arts.

For that reason, I recommend “Romeo et Juliette” for a grownup date night. And there’s more than one way to make that happen. In-person performances continue through Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, but the show will be available for streaming Feb. 24-28 for $35.

This is a great and popular option: PNB has reported that its digital “Nutcracker” was streamed by people in all 50 states.

For your all-ages entertainment, consider PNB’s upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” (March 20-27), designed for younger audience members and performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet School students. Also, the classic “Swan Lake” (April 16-24) probably has greater all-ages appeal, too.

But for a very grownup, sophisticated Valentine’s Day celebration, “Romeo et Juliette” either in person or at home on the sofa could fit the bill very well. Note that patrons attending in person need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination (ages 12 and up) and be prepared to wear a mask the entire time.


More entertainment in Seattle’s Child:

Biggest shows coming to Seattle area in early 2022

Is Cirque du Soleil good for kids? Here’s what to know


About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 14-year-old girl.