The Royal Ballet's William Bracewell and Francesca Hayward in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet

Bradley Waller, Courtesy "Great Performances"

A "Romeo and Juliet" Movie Starring Francesca Hayward is Coming to PBS's "Great Performances"

Here's some good news: PBS's "Great Performances" is broadcasting Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet nationwide on Friday, September 11. Rather than a recorded live performance, this Romeo and Juliet is a gorgeously shot 90-minute cinematic adaptation, featuring The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. First soloist William Bracewell and principal dancer Francesca Hayward star in the title roles, with principals Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambé as Tybalt and Mercutio, respectively.

The filmmakers, BalletBoyz artistic directors William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, have been diving into dance moviemaking in recent years, including 2016's award-winning World War I drama Young Men. For Romeo and Juliet, the pair brought the cast to Budapest, where they built a replica Renaissance village on open-air studio sets. No details were spared—everything from live chickens to plants blowing in the breeze to an actual rainstorm help bring the city of Verona to life.

And then, of course, there's the dancing. For those who remember Hayward from her Hollywood debut in Cats, Romeo and Juliet offers a chance to see her in true ballerina mode. And she and Bracewell do not disappoint—check out this sneak preview of MacMillan's famous balcony pas de deux.

"Great Performances: Romeo and Juliet" premieres nationwide Friday, September 11, at 9 pm EDT (check local listings) on PBS, and the PBS Video app.

Latest Posts

Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks