Romeo & Juliet, on Motifs by Shakespeare

The Mark Morris Dance Group at Lincoln Center on Thursday, May 14.

The oddest thing about Sergei Prokofiev’s otherwise orthodox Romeo and Juliet—the original version, the one with the telling addendum to the title, the one that ran badly afoul of Stalin’s repressive regime—is the exceedingly unorthodox ending: Romeo and Juliet live. I gasped when I first learned that, but the scenario turns out not to be the cloying, saccharine happy ending I imagined. It’s more subtle than that. Rather than say that they live, it’s probably more accurate to say that Romeo and Juliet don’t die. (“Zombies!” Sean exclaimed when I told him.) They ascend, perhaps, existing on some otherworldly plane for one final pas de deux. It’s actually quite lovely.