Arundel ballet star brings U.S. debut of 'Romeo & Juliet' to Glen Burnie

For The Baltimore Sun

Glen Burnie will be the site of a major U.S. dancing premiere in September when county-born choreographer and prima ballerina Adrienne Canterna brings Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" to open the Maryland Concert Series season.

This unique rendition of the timeless tale has toured internationally, enthralling audiences since opening four years ago in Hamburg, Germany.

The production at North County High School will be its U.S. debut — and the only performances of the show scheduled in this country.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to bring this show home," said Canterna, a dance prodigy who grew up in Linthicum and was winning major international competitions as a teenager.

The cutting-edge choreography of this "Romeo and Juliet" melds classic ballet with hip-hop and rock, conveying the joyous passion of rebellious young lovers. The result is a show that presents history's ultimate teen couple in a way that appeals to a new generation of viewers.

"The show has been touring internationally since opening in 2013 — even performing for one month on the West End in London," Canterna said. "But it has never performed in the States."

This ground-breaking show will be presented in three performances: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10 at North County High, 10 E. 1st Ave.

Canterna will dance the role of Juliet on Saturday evening and in the Sunday matinee, with another Linthicum native, Jordan Lombardi, dancing the Juliet role in the Saturday matinee.

Canterna and the Bad Boys of Ballet — who together were semifinalists on "America's Got Talent" in 2014 — had long been scheduled to open the season for the Maryland Concert Series. But members of the series' board were ecstatic with Canterna's offer to make their appearance a U.S. debut for "Romeo and Juliet."

Canterna's gift to her home community includes flying, from Germany, stage props and custom lighting — at her cost. She's also footing the bill to bring her New York City production stage manager to rehearsals and performances for the Glen Burnie production.

These production costs "total more than $50,000," said Kathleen "Kathi" Hiett, president of the Maryland Concert Series. She added: "This is an expense MCS could never afford."

Canterna, the gold medal winner in the junior women's division of the 1998 International Ballet competition known as the "Olympics of dance," has built a career in the melding of classic and modern ballet. Her super-charged athleticism combines with strong emotion and distinct body language.

For "Romeo and Juliet," the 10-member cast will feature the Bad Boys of Ballet delivering action as rival gangs in combat scenes that fuse martial arts and acrobatics.

The story's retelling is danced against a soundtrack that runs from Vivaldi and Prokofiev to Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and David Guetta, blended to produce a colorful score that is engaging and irresistible.

In Europe, many of the "Romeo and Juliet" performances sold out quickly, and officials with Maryland Concert Series recommend those wishing to attend one of three shows order tickets by Aug. 15 to avoid disappointment.

Single tickets are $10 for children 18 and younger and $25 for adults. There will be a meet-and-greet session with the cast and a photographer for photos at minimal cost after each show. Hiett and executive committee volunteers are also planning a Glen Burnie version of a "Hollywood Oscars" spectacle to welcome the audience.

One way to assure a seat is to order a Maryland Concert Series season subscription. The cost of $55 guarantees seating at the 7:30 p.m. Saturday show — plus five additional concerts of broad appeal during the rest of the series. Those shows are:

•Oct. 21 — Maryland guitar maker Paul Reed Smith's Band offering Chesapeake Gumbo rock.

•Dec. 7 — Christmas program by Anne Arundel Community College vocalists, orchestra, and dancers.

•Jan. 27 —U.S. Army Concert Band offering a free concert.

•Feb. 24 — Anna Binneweg, in her 11th year as music director/conductor of the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra and music director of Londontowne Symphony, will conduct AACC Symphony in a concert of classics and show tunes.

•April 28 — The American Rogues perform jigs, reels, ballads, patriotic and military music.

For more information and tickets, go to, or simply purchase subscriptions through, which accepts major credit cards.

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