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EMU presents original rock musical, ‘U2 Romeo & Juliet’

U2 Romeo & Juliet
Left to right: Alexis Lewis, Elizabeth Eby, Greta Schrag, Matt Hevener, Andrew Stoltzfus, Adam Hoover, Emma Nord, Anna Hoover, Sophia Gott. (Photo by Rachel Holderman

Audiences at Eastern Mennonite University’s “U2 Romeo & Juliet” are in for a treat.

A theater production that combines the artistry of William Shakespeare and the iconic Irish band U2 is exciting, intense and bold. The band’s poetic songs easefully carry classic themes of hatred and violence, love and reconciliation.

“U2 Romeo & Juliet: An Original Rock Musical” runs Oct. 16-30, in the Mainstage Theater, University Commons.

Performances are 7 p.m. Oct. 16, 28, 29, and 30, and 2 p.m. Oct 17 and 30.

Live music performed by a skilled ensemble of actors and local band Prince Bellerose, with original videos, choreography and intense fight scenes, will also make this theater experience memorable. The rock musical, created by faculty members Justin Poole and Jerry Holsopple, not only tells the story of the constant human struggle between light and darkness, but challenges audiences to make a difference in today’s chaotic world.

“This is a play about the horrible things we do to each other and the need for us to advocate for peace and justice despite seemingly insurmountable odds,” said Poole, theater program director and professor of theater

“The music of U2 works so well in this show because most of their songs mean more than one thing,” said Holsopple, professor of visual and communication arts. “It may be about love, but it is also about this other situation. It goes from lament to prophetic anger, from intense personal feelings to grand ideas all while balancing multiple narratives on the flow of text and music.”