Jay Armstrong Johnson
Jay Armstrong Johnson
(© Tristan Fuge)
Jay Armstrong Johnson (Hands on a Hardbody) and Talisa Friedman (Donnie Darko) will play the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet in the new musical The Last Goodbye at San Diego's Old Globe this fall. Inspired by Shakespeare's tragic love story, The Last Goodbye is conceived by Michael Kimmel and features the music of legendary singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. Directed by Alex Timbers, the production runs September 20-November 3, with an opening night set for October 6.

The Old Globe's production will also star Hale Appleman (Mercutio), Stephen Bogardus (Friar Lawrence), Nancy Snow Carr (Lady Montague), Shannon Cochran (Lady Capulet), Brandon Gill (Benvolio), Bryan Scott Johnson (Montague), Eric Morris (Paris), Daniel Oreskes (Capulet), Tonye Patano (Nurse), Wallace Smith (Prince Escalus), Jeremy Woodard (Tybalt), James Brown III, Billy Bustamante, Drew Foster, Adam Perry, Steve Schepis, Nik Walker (Ensemble), Megan Carmitchel (Offstage Singer), and Bradley Gibson (Swing).

Featured on the creative team are Sonya Tayeh (choreography), Kris Kukul (musical direction, orchestrations, arrangements), Christopher Barreca (scenic design), Jennifer Moeller (costume design), Justin Townsend (lighting design), Ken Travis (sound design), Ian Hersey (text consultant), Kate Waters (fight director), and Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum (associate fight director), Carrie Gardner, CSA(casting) and Peter Lawrence (stage manager).

An earlier version of The Last Goodbye had its world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2010, where it broke box-office records for the festival's Nikos Stage. This new version, produced by special arrangement with Hal Luftig, Ruth and Steve Hendel, The Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group, and Executive Producer Lauren Fitzgerald, reflects two years of developmental workshops under Timbers' guidance.

Buckley's first and only full-length, full-band studio album, Grace, was released in 1994. An artist emerging from New York City's avant-garde club scene, he is best known for his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which is featured on Grace and will be included in this production. Born in California in 1966, Buckley died in Memphis in 1997.