Private Romeo

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Private Romeo
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alan Brown
Produced by Agathe David-Weill, Kevin Ginty and Alan Brown (producers)
Alli Maxwell (co-producer)
Matt Janes, Glen Trotiner (associate producers)
Screenplay by Alan Brown
Based on Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
Starring Seth Numrich
Matt Doyle
Music by Nicholas Wright
Cinematography Derek McKane
Release date
  • June 20, 2011 (2011-06-20) (Frameline)
Country United States
Language English

Private Romeo is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Alan Brown made in 2011. The film is a reenactment of the play exclusively spoken in an all-male high school military academy called McKinley Military Academy. Amidst this recitation is a gay love blossoming between the two cadets, Sam Singleton / Romeo played by Seth Numrich and Glenn Mangan / Juliet played by Matt Doyle. The film was Brown's take on Don't ask, don't tell, the official United States policy on gays serving in the military from December 21, 1993, to September 20, 2011 (the law was repealed after the production of the film).

The scenes of the cadet school and the lessons of the play "Romeo and Juliet" are filmed in desaturated colors, gray, khaki, and pale, whereas the scenes depicting the actual Shakespearean scenes are shown in saturated colors.

The film project was previously known as "McKinley"[1] and as "The Shakespeare Project".

Brown was inspired to write the script after seeing Joe Calarco's play Shakespeare's R&J in 2008 wherein four senior students in blazers, discover Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and become intrigued by it while reciting excerpts, and act out key scenes from the play intermingled with their own personal realities. All four play various roles in a minimalist stage setting.[2]


The cast was made up of 8 actors playing 11 characters. Many other characters from the original play were left out.

  • Seth Numrich as Sam Singleton (Romeo)
  • Matt Doyle as Glenn Mangan (Juliet)
  • Hale Appleman as Josh Neff (double role Mercutio and Capulet)
  • Charlie Barnett as Ken Lee (Prince Escalus)
  • Adam Barrie as Adam Hersh (Father Laurence)
  • Chris Bresky as Omar Madsen (Nurse)
  • Sean Hudock as Gus Sanchez (double role Capulet's Wife and Benvolio)
  • Bobby Moreno as Carlos Moreno (double role of Capulet and Tybalt)


The film was singled out by critics for being "hugely adventurous and highly liberated".[citation needed][3] It was a New York Times Critics Pick.[4]


In 2011, the film won the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, for "Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film." The prize was co-won by Seth Numrich, Chris Bresky, Matt Doyle, Hale Appleman, Sean Hudock, Adam Barrie, Bobby Moreno, and Charlie Barnett. The award credited the actors for "bringing fresh life to a timeless love story and infusing each moment with a 21st century immediacy that balances naked passion with longing and delivering it all with brilliant coherence".


  1. ^ Film International:
  2. ^ "Joe Calarco Shakespeare's R&J after Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet". Retrieved 24 August 2017. 
  3. ^ Reed, Rex (2 August 2012). "Private Romeo: Every Soldier is a Lover". The Observer. Retrieved 24 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Catsoulis, Jeanette (9 February 2012). "Shirtless Cadets as Shakespeare's Ill-Fated Young Lovers". Retrieved 24 August 2017. 

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