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Romeo and Juliet also came back into popular teen culture thanks to a storyline used a few years ago as part of the High School Musical series.
Taylor Swift had a huge hit a couple of years ago with the song "Love Story" which specifically retells the story of Romeo and Juliet's love story, and the video plays into even more-so. Taylor Swift enters in the present, at a university, but quickly flashes into a fantasy where she and the handsome young man are reenacting the Romeo and Juliet story -- costumes and all. It is a very romantic song with a happy ending!
For laughs, and depending on your audience, check out, "My Sassy Gay Friend: Romeo and Juliet."
The comedy team "Kids in the Hall" did a very funny parody:
Saturday Night Live has done numerous sketches over the years. Check out these links:
Blue Oyster Cult had a hit song in 1976 with "Don't Fear the Reaper." Lyrics include:
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity...Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday...Like Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday...Redefine happiness
Another 40,000 coming everyday...We can be like they are
You can listen to it here:
In 1996, Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Romeo + Juliet. The film was set in modern-day Verona, California (but language was not changed)
As you can see, this play lends itself to all sorts of interpretations and likely always will.
The band Dire Straits had a song called "Romeo and Juliet." It includes lyrics about him being under her window and singing to her. I think that's an allusion to the balcony scene.
The band Blue Oyster Cult had a song called "Don't Fear the Reaper" that includes the line "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity."
So that's two songs other than the Taylor Swift one that allude to the play.
There are many allusions to the story of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
The recent animated feature entitled, Gnomeo and Juliet, is based on Shakespeare's tragedy, where two gnomes from feuding families try to find love.
Songs that were inspired by the play include "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet," performed by the Reflections in 1964. This was their only hit.
Recently, Taylor Swift alludes to Romeo and Juliet in her song entitled, "Love Story." Lines from the song include:
That you were Romeo
You were throwing pebbles
And my daddy said, "Stay away from Juliet"
And I was crying on the staircase
Begging you, "Please don't go"
In 2002, a parody of the play, entitled Romeo Hall and Juliet Oates was performed by the Troubadour Theater Company in Burbank, California. The play included songs from the 1980s, and the title reflects the name of a popular singing group of the time, Hall and Oates.
Finally, a very funny parody of Romeo and Juliet, as well as many other of Shakespeare's most famous plays, was produced by the Reduced Shakespeare Company which originated in 1981 in California. Video clips of the play are posted on Youtube.com.
Reduced Shakespeare Company - Youtube video, part I
Reduced Shakespeare Company - Youtube video, part II
Perhaps the best known reworking of the story of Romeo and Juliet is the musical West Side Story whose score was written by the famous composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. The modern story of two gangs in New York, a white working-class gang and a Puerto Rican gang, the conflict between the two gangs reaches a climax when Tony of the Jets falls in love with Maria of the Sharks. Many of the songs from this musical have remained popular such as "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty," and "America." The stage musical is performed frequently by schools. A modern interpretation of Romeo and Juliet is a 1996 film directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes. The original dialogue is kept, but the setting is the "hip modern suburb" of Verona. Back in 1968, Franco Zeffirelli directed a film that became very popular. One of the songs, "A Time for Us" was used as the entrance song at weddings.
The Reflections wrote and sang a song entitled "Just Like Romeo and Juliet." Stephen Bishop has a rather crude song of the same title. Then, Michael Penn has a song entitled "No Myth." In a couple of lines he alludes to Romeo, the romantic lover, and also to Heathcliff, the brooding lover of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights,
what if I were Romeo in black jeans
what if I was Heathcliff, it's no myth
maybe she's just looking for
someone to dance with
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