The curtain opens to reveal Romeo, Rosaline, and Rosaline’s bodyguard. Romeo makes advances, which are encouraged by Rosaline but discouraged by her overzealous guard. The street comes to life. Tybalt provokes a quarrel with Mercutio and a scuffle ensures which develops into a full and fast-moving brawl. The two camps, the Montagues and the Capulets, enjoy the fight. With the arrival of Escalus, the Duke of Verona, the row ceases.
Juliet, playing with her nurse, is interrupted by her parents, Lord and Lady Capulet. They present her to Paris, a young Nobleman, who has asked her hand in marriage.
Lord Capulet greets guests arriving for a ball. Romeo, along with his friends Mercutio and Benvolio, decides to go to the ball in pursuit of Rosaline. Tybalt chases Benvolio and Romeo away, but Mercutio manages to sneak into the Ballroom. He comes out again a few moments later with masks for himself, Romeo, and Benvolio, so they can enter the ball in disguise.
Romeo and his friends enter the ballroom. All the guests are watching Juliet dance. Seeing that Romeo is enchanted with her, and she drawn to him, Mercutio dances to attract attention upon himself. Later, Tybalt recognizes Romeo and orders him to leave, but Lord and Lady Capulet intervene and restrain Tybalt from pursuing Romeo.
As guests leave the ball, Romeo hides from Mercutio and Benvolio.
Unable to sleep, Juliet comes out onto her balcony and is thinking of Romeo, when suddenly he appears in the garden. They dance together to express their love for each other.
Romeo, reunited with his friends, tries to join in the fun and horseplay but can think only of Juliet. Soon Juliet’s nurse arrives, pushing the Montague men aside, in search of Romeo to give him a letter from Juliet.
The lovers are secretly married by Friar Lawrence, who hopes that their union will end the strife between the Montagues and the Capulets.
Interrupting the revelry, Tybalt fights with Mercutio and kills him. Romeo avenges the death of his friend and is exiled from Verona.
At dawn the next morning, we find Romeo preparing to leave before he is discovered. He kisses Juliet and departs for Mantua. Her parents enter with Paris; Juliet refuses to marry him. Lord Capulet’s anger turns to rage. Juliet rushes to see Friar Lawrence.
She falls at the Friar’s feet and begs for help. She threatens to kill herself. The Friar gives her a vial of sleeping potion which will make her fall into a deathlike sleep.
When Juliet returns, she agrees to marry Paris. That evening, she takes the vial of sleeping potion. The next morning, the Nurse and Lord and Lady Capulet arrive to find Juliet apparently lifeless on the bed.
Romeo, unaware of Friar Lawrence and Juliet’s plan, returns to Verona and is stunned by grief at the news of Juliet’s death. Disguised as one of the mourners, he enters the crypt and finds Paris by Juliet’s body. Paris attacks Romeo and is slain. Believing Juliet to be dead, Romeo drinks a vial of poison. Awakening to find Romeo dead, Juliet stabs herself.
– Michael Smuin