In the heart of Singapore, a theatrical revolution is happening right now as & JULIET is making its premiere and running shows till mid-October. This groundbreaking musical, produced by Michael Cassel Group in association with MTM/Leyline and presented by Base Entertainment Asia, has taken the world by storm with its unique blend of Shakespearean romance and iconic pop anthems from the last three decades.
I had the privilege of speaking with Rob Mills, the talented actor who takes on the role of William Shakespeare, to delve into his journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and love within this modern reimagining of the classic Romeo and Juliet tale.
Rob Mills, known for his passion for the music of legendary songwriter Max Martin, expressed his enthusiasm for joining the production. “I have been a huge Max Martin fan since I can remember,” he shared. “From singing Backstreet Boys and NSYNC to Bon Jovi and Kelly Clarkson. So couple this jukebox musical chock full of bangers with one of the most heartwarming and hilarious scripts I’ve ever read, and I knew that I had to be a part of this production.”
One of the key elements that sets & JULIET apart is its unconventional take on the Shakespearean narrative. Mills, who portrays William Shakespeare, highlighted the importance of finding authenticity in his character: “Like all roles, I always just look for the truth in the writing. As someone who is in a long-term relationship, I can really relate to the banter between Anne and Will. The stubbornness and the compromise that is needed to maintain a healthy loving relationship. We had a wonderful creative team that allowed us all to find our version of the characters.”
The musical’s seamless integration of pop songs from the past three decades enhances the storytelling and emotional depth of the characters, including Shakespeare. Mills marvelled at the cleverness of the script: “It’s almost like the songs were written for the show! I am always amazed at how cleverly David West Read weaved the songs into the script to really enhance the emotion of the scene but also progress the narrative.”
Balancing the expectations of portraying an iconic figure like Shakespeare while infusing his own interpretation and personality into the role was a unique challenge for Mills. He shared, “The good thing about this production is that it is a very modern contemporary take on the 16th-century world, so anything goes really. Also, there aren’t a lot of TikToks or YouTube videos around of Shakespeare for people to compare me.”
& JULIET is a story of self-discovery, empowerment, and love, and Mills sheds light on how his character, Shakespeare, contributes to these themes: “I think it’s funny how Shakespeare has this desire to create conflict within the story and characters but is unwilling to address the conflict within his own relationship with Anne until it’s almost too late. Love takes all forms in this musical, and it’s created by the writing of both Anne and William, but the thing I love most is their struggle, their second chance at love. This married couple trying to rekindle their spark, for Anne to be heard and for Shakespeare to listen. The message of empowerment is especially strong in this musical, and I also think it’s really empowering for Shakespeare too, to finally be vulnerable.”
When asked about the most challenging and memorable moments in the show, Mills couldn’t help but smile: “The Boy Band moment sticks out as the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. We all love it up there, and the audience just goes crazy for it. But the scene that was the hardest was and still is, just listening to the heartbreaking monologue at the end of the show. Amy is such an incredible actor, and with all of the hilarity and storylines that we’ve heard throughout the show, to be able to bring it right back is a real credit to her and the beautiful writing. It breaks my heart every night.”
As the characters in & JULIET get a second chance at life and love on their terms, Shakespeare’s character evolves throughout the show. Mills reflected on Shakespeare’s growth: “Shakespeare grows by the end of the play by finally realizing the impact of his art vs. reality struggle. I think people can relate to the work/life balance we all face in today’s world. He doesn’t want to lose his partner and essentially asks for forgiveness, through song of course; it’s a musical after all.”
Rob Mills expressed his excitement for the Singaporean audience to experience the magic of & JULIET, a show that celebrates equality, diversity, and the different forms of love. He shared, “I’m just so glad Singapore gets a big West End/Broadway hit show so close to its original opening. This show is fresh and fun and right in the middle of the zeitgeist of progression. Showcasing equality, diversity, and the different forms of love. I’m just so glad I get to be a small part of it.”
Don’t miss your chance to witness the electrifying performance of Rob Mills and the entire cast of & JULIET. The show closes next Sunday, 15 October. To make sure you secure your seats, we have a special promotion for you.
Click on the link below to enjoy a 20% discount on & JULIET tickets: Get 20% Off & JULIET Tickets. Grab your tickets and prepare to be swept away by this unforgettable musical experience!