Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre Gives Shakespeare’s Tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” a Civil War Setting

Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre will stage William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" on Oct. 4-6
Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre will stage William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” on Oct. 4-6

On Oct. 4-6 in Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Team Montague and Team Capulet will square off once again for their epic family feud in a modernized community-theater presentation of Romeo and Juliet, produced by Deb Royals and directed by Jerry Sipp and starring 27-year-old Ira David Wood IV as Romeo. Originally set during the 14th century in Verona and Mantua, Italy, this late 16th century tragedy of star-crossed lovers by English dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616) will now unfold during the era of the American Civil War (1861-65) and be performed under the stars.

According to the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Regency Park:

“[Our] annual … Shakespeare production takes a historical twist on the timeless tale of love and tragedy. Romeo and Juliet will view Shakespeare’s classic love story from a uniquely American perspective by setting the action during the American Civil War era.

“It was a time when deep-seated hatreds blinded people to the love that surrounded them, sometimes even pitting neighbor against neighbor and family against family. It was a desperate time, when two young lovers might need to risk everything to be with their beloved before the world turned upside down.

“Given that we are in the midst of observing 150 years since the Civil War era, it seems particularly relevant to present this perspective now.

“Through Shakespeare’s text, the production will explore how the destructive power of hate and the healing power of love swept up everyone in its path, Northerner and Southerner, rich and poor, slave and freeman, young and old, and changed our world forever….

“Picnics [will be] allowed for this performance. Venue concession stands will also be open.”

Ira David Wood IV stars as Romeo
Ira David Wood IV stars as Romeo

Besides Ira Wood as Romeo, the Koka Booth Amphitheatre cast for Romeo and Juliet includes Sydney Mitchell as Juliet, Carly Jones as Juliet’s earthy Nurse, Carlos Massey as Friar Lawrence, Jade Arnold as Mercutio, John Honeycutt as Lord Capulet, Susannah Hough as Lady Capulet, Derek Dixon as Tybalt, Josh Wolonick as Benvolio, David Hudson as Lord Montague, Amber Wood as Lady Montague, Brook North as the Prince, Allan Maule as Paris, Paul Brown as Sampson, Brandon Lanning as Gregory, Justin Smith as Peter, Connie McCoy Rogers as the Apothecary, Thom Haynes as a Capulet Cousin and a Citizen of the Watch, Joshua Benjamin as Petruchio, Gus Allen as Chief of the Watch, Edward Cooke as the Second Watchman, George Kaiser as Balthasar, and Regina Brooks as a Servingwoman.

The male ensemble includes Cody Brown and Josh Knutson; and the female dancers and ensemble include Brooke Benson, Regina Brooks, Alison Lawrence, Diana McQueen, Samantha Rahn, and Alice Turner.

Click here to view the Romeo and Juliet seating chart:

Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre presents Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4-6 in the amphitheatre — in Regency Park — at 8003 Regency Pkwy., Cary, North Carolina 27518.

TICKETS: $20 lawn and $30 table, except children 12 and under get in free and $10-per-person lawn seats for groups of 10.


GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): (order form:

INFORMATION: 919-462-2052 or





The Play (background): (Wikipedia).

The Script: (, with the plays annotated by Amanda Mabillard).

Study Guides: (Koka Booth Amphitheatre) and (Utah Shakespeare Festival).

The Playwright: (Wikipedia).

Ira David Wood IV: (Wikipedia).

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).