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

September 2, 2020

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, pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app.