News: Such Sweet Sorrow will be presented in 4 performances in New York Theater Festival's Winterfest at Hudson Guild Theater

Dec 29th & 30th, 2019, January 4th, 2020 and July 26th, 2020! 

RUSD Honors Theatre Program

Tuesday Feb 20 & Wednesday Feb 21 2018

                  at THE FOX THEATRE 

       & John W. North Little Theatre

                        Riverside, CA

The Riverside Unified School District & Chris Wade Music Productions presents

                "Such Sweet Sorrow" - a new musical workshop performance

In collaboration with the RUSD Visual & Performing Arts and Career & Technical Education Departments, Riverside Fox Foundation, and Live Nation

Starring the talented student actors, singers, dancers, musicians, ushers and stage crew of the            Riverside Unified School District, side-by-side with industry professionals

North HS, Poly HS, Ramona HS, Arlington HS, King HS, STEM

Free and open to the public!

Such Sweet Sorrow

RUSD Presents:
a new musical
By William Shakespeare & Chris Wade
Curated by: Annemarie Guzy
Directed by: Michelle Grotness
Choreography: by Dominique Araiza


Wednesday Feb 21st at 10am at THE FOX THEATER (1500 students to attend from RUSD however, family and friends may attend if room is available.)

Wednesday Feb 21st at 7pm at North High School, Riverside FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


Mission of Production, Artistic and Educational Development


To inspire youth to learn and know Shakespeare, and be an aide to memorizing his text, through song.


What: A musical adaptation of the famous “Balcony Scene” from Romeo & Juliet, “Such Sweet Sorrow” is the name of our fictitious singing competition show, a la The Voice or American Idol, with the teenage contestants up for the roles of Romeo and Juliet, who will star in the upcoming Broadway smash hit, “Romeo and Juliet Rocks!”, a rock-pop opera. The contestants “battle-sing” each other  using the verbatim Shakespeare words from start to end, taking turns getting eliminated until the final Romeo and Juliet is revealed. Then we get a sneak peak into what the real Broadway production would be, complete with opening Prologue “Two Households, both alike in dignity...” There’s even a [few] budding on-set romances, to mirror our Romeos and Juliets here in 2018. 


The show’s themes focus on identity, social interaction, friendly competition, belonging, community, and of course, young love, and with a spotlight on their talent. Paired with some surprisingly catchy “tunes”, “Such Sweet Sorrow”, is a fast-paced musical ride that should be classic “edutainment” fun- educating with entertainment! 


How: The student actors will go through a real workshop process, similar to those done on new musicals in NYC, LA, San Diego… They will help create their roles and be encouraged to improvise and develop character and even libretto. Throughout the process, their input will be incorporated into libretto as the students work side by side with working theatre professionals. Along the journey they will be taught contemporary musical theatre techniques in the areas of voice, acting, singing, music, Shakespeare, dance,… Their work will come to fruition and be presented publicly on Feb 21st, at The Fox Theatre, and also that night at North High School. 

This will be the first time the evolving Workshop of Such Sweet Sorrow is performed by actual high school students, or rather, very close the intended age ranges. We expect that the nature of many schools being involved will break down walls and rivalries, and bring the arts and theatre students, (those who display extreme potential, passion and discipline for their craft) together to form valuable and lasting bonds as they move forward into their lives and become a strong network to each other. 


Why: Shakespeare can and should be memorized through song! Every actor or person involved with previous workshop performances in NYC and LA have ended up with the entire Balcony Scene memorized, both Romeo’s AND Juliet’s lines! As the kids prepare for college auditions and will need Shakespearean monologues, this show was first inspired to be a vessel to aid in memorization of Shakespeare’s famous and beautiful text. (“But soft what light through yonder window breaks, etc...”)


The entire Balcony Scene is sung, and set to a contemporary rock/pop musical score. It is also the intention that everyone who leaves the theatre goes out humming “But soft what light”, or “O Romeo, Romeo”… and that some may even be inspired to Google R&J or Billy Shakes when they get home. 

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Slideshow from our Workshop and Rehearsal Process with the students of RUSD

Check out these past workshop performances with professional adult actors:

(NOTE: our newest production is all students 14-18 year olds!)

Theatre for the New City Workshops

[Above] Featuring Christina DeCicco (Bway: Evita, Sister Act, SpiderMan Turn Off the Dark), Renee Albulario (Off-Bway: Here Lies Love), Ashley Arcement (Bway: Grease), Mark Mozingo

[Below] Featuring Jerielle Morwitz and Adam Spiegel