Romeo and Juliet was first performed by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House on February 9, 1965. It entered the repertoire of American Ballet Theatre on January 3, 1985, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. with Leslie Browne and Robert La Fosse in the leading roles of Juliet and Romeo.
Romeo and Juliet Ballet: ACT I
- Scene #1: The Market Place. The scene is Verona. Romeo, son of Montague, tries vainly to declare his love for Rosaline and is comforted by his friends Mercutio and Benvolio. As day breaks the townsfolk meet in the market place, and a squabble develops between Tybalt, a nephew of Capulet, and Romeo and his friends. The Capulets and Montagues are sworn enemies, and a fight soon starts. The Lords Montague and Capulet join in the fray, which is stopped by the appearance of the Prince of Verona, who orders the families to end their feud.
- Scene #2: Juliet’s Anteroom in the Capulet House. Juliet, playing with her nurse, is interrupted by her parents, Lord and Lady Capulet. They present her to Paris, an affluent young aristocrat who has asked for her hand in marriage.
- Scene #3: Outside the Capulet House. Guests arrive for a ball at the Capulets’ household. Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio, disguised in masks, decide to go in pursuit of Rosaline.
- Scene #4: The Ballroom. Romeo and his friends arrive at the height of the revelries. The guests watch Juliet dance. Mercutio, seeing Romeo is entranced by her, dances to sidetrack attention from him. Tybalt recognizes Romeo and orders him to leave, but Lord Capulet interferes and receives him as a guest in his house.
- Scene #5: Outside the Capulet House. As the guests leave the ball, Lady Capulet contains Tybalt from pursuing Romeo.
- Scene #6: Juliet’s Balcony. Unable to sleep, Juliet comes out on to her balcony and is thinking of Romeo when he suddenly appears in the garden. They acknowledge their love for each other.
Romeo and Juliet Ballet: ACT II
- Scene #1: The Market Place. Romeo can think just of Juliet. Moreover, as a wedding pageant passes, he dreams of the day when he will marry her. Meanwhile, Juliet’s nurse pushes her way through the crowds looking for Romeo to give him a letter from Juliet. He reads that Juliet has agreed to be his wife.
- Scene #2: The Chapel. The lovers are clandestinely married by Friar Laurence, who hopes that their union will end the discord between the Montagues and the Capulets.
- Scene #3: The Market Place. Interjecting the revelry, Tybalt fights with Mercutio and kills him. Romeo avenges the death of his friend and is banished.
Romeo and Juliet Ballet: ACT III
- Scene #1: The Bedroom. At dawn the next morning, the household is agitating and Romeo must go. He hugs Juliet and leaves as her parents enter with Paris. Juliet declines to marry Paris, and hurt by her snub, he leaves. Juliet’s parents are annoyed and threaten to disclaim her. Juliet rushes to see Friar Laurence.
- Scene #2: The Chapel. Juliet falls at the Friar’s feet and begs for his help. He gives her an ampoule of sleeping potion that will make her fall into a death-like sleep. Her parents, believing her dead, will bury her in the family tomb. Meanwhile, Romeo, warned by Friar Laurence, will revisit under cover of darkness and take her away from Verona.
- Scene #3: The Bedroom. That evening, Juliet agrees to marry Paris, but next morning, when her parents arrive with him they find her seemingly lifeless on the bed.
- Scene #4: The Capulet Family Crypt. Romeo, failing to receive the Friar’s communication, returns to Verona dumbfounded by grief at the news of Juliet’s death. Masquerading as a monk, he enters the crypt. Finding Paris by Juliet’s body, Romeo kills him and, thinking Juliet to be dead, drinks a vial of poison. Juliet awakes and, finding Romeo dead, stabs herself.