Alumni Take the Stage in Jeff Buckley Musical Adaptation of 'Romeo and Juliet'

August 11, 2010

University of the Arts alumni Kelli Barrett '07 (Musical Theater) and Jesse Lenat '93 (Acting) are performing at the Williamstown Theater Festival in "The Last Goodbye," a re-envisioning of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" that includes 20 songs by the late musician and composer Jeff Buckley. Created and directed by Michael Kimmel, "The Last Goodbye" runs on the festival's Nikos Stage through August 20.

      

Kelli Barrett                                                                       Jesse Lenat

Barrett, who made her Broadway debut in 2009 as Gwen Cavendish in "The Royal Family" at the Friedman Theatre, stars as Juliet. She has recently performed as Sherrie in the Off-Broadway production of "Rock of Ages," as Maddie Coleman on "As the World Turns" and as the talking mannequin/Hugh Dancy's phone bidder ("Woman In Black") in the film "Confessions of a Shopaholic." Her upcoming film credits include Jessica Nilson in "The Baster" and Tyler's Girl in "Remember Me."

Barrett said she felt a large amount of pressure, not because she is playing the lead, but "because she felt that many Buckley fans would be coming to the show with their own views and interpretations of his music," she told The New York Times. Buckley died in a tragic drowning accident in Memphis on May 29, 1997. Buckley's mother, however, gave her blessing "to take Jeff's music in whatever direction felt the most honest to us and to this story."

An accomplished musician who has played at Farm Aid alongside Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, Lenat plays Friar. Lenat recently released music on CDBaby and iTunes, and is working on another CD with his brother. His album "Field Songs" was recorded in fields, on mountains, in apartments and caves as he traveled around the country. In addition to his music career, Lenat has performed in various theater productions around the country and was an original cast member in the musical version of "Rent."

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