Romeo and Juliet, Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Margeson Theater
January 25 – March 17, 2012

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Thomas Ouellette
Role: Lord Capulet

As Lord Capulet, preventing Tybalt (David Hardie) from disturbing the guests (PHOTO: Tony Firriolo)

Another angle on the confrontation (PHOTO: Rob Jones)

Comforting Juliet (Stella Heath) (PHOTO: Tony Firriolo)

Critical Response

“The show was halted during the second act, and Orlando Shakespeare Theater artistic director Jim Helsinger informed the audience an actor had been injured backstage, though he did not specify how the injury occurred.

“A loud crash from backstage was heard in the audience during the opening minutes of the play’s second act. Helsinger later told the audience that the actor, Johnny Lee Davenport, was to be taken to a local hospital by ambulance to check for signs of a concussion. He said Davenport was alert and wanted to continue his performance in the play.

“Instead, Helsinger stepped in, reading from a script, and the show concluded with Helsinger in the role of Lord Capulet.”
—Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel (January 28, 2012)

“I was going to start by talking about the middle school class giggling hysterically about the sex jokes in the first act, but the big event opening night was the backstage carnage between the sword fights. Lord Capulet (Johnny Lee Davenport) fell backstage and was carted off to the hospital for stitches forcing Jim Helsinger to robe up and finish the role script in hand. I believe Mr. Davenport will be back soon, but I heard the thud way up in back by the sound booth.

“Besides this minor tragedy, this was noteworthy performance. . . .  From what I saw of Mr. Davenport, he felt more imperial than the notional ruler of bloody Verona Price Escalus.”
—Carl F. Gauze, Archikulture Digest (January 29, 2012)

Press Release
Johnny Lee Davenport Recovering and Expected to Return Saturday Evening
“During Act 2 of the opening night performance of Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet, actor Johnny Lee Davenport (Lord Capulet) fell backstage and sustained injuries to his head. Mr. Davenport was taken to the hospital where he received stitches and was released later that evening. Following a hold to arrange for medical attention, the show continued with Artistic Director Jim Helsinger stepping in to perform the role.

“Jim Helsinger said Mr. Davenport will not attend this afternoon’s rehearsal for Cymbeline, but does plan to return to perform the role of Lord Capulet in this evening’s performance of Romeo and Juliet.

“The staff at Orlando Shakes would like to thank everyone who expressed concern and best wishes for Mr. Davenport. Special thanks to the opening night audience who showed immense support throughout the performance, giving the actors a rousing standing ovation.”

Kudos to Davenport for getting back onstage so quickly, and to all the actors and crew at the Shakes who kept the show going on Friday night with professionalism and poise.”


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