Getting to Know You: I WANNA F*CK LIKE ROMEO AND JULIET’s Greg Cuellar
Love and mischief go hand-in-hand in Andrew Rincón’s I Wanna F*ck Like Romeo and Juliet. The queer AF comedy is a bold, intimate exploration of relationships and identity.
It stars Juan Arturo as Alejandro, Greg Cuellar as Valentine, Jacqueline Guillén as Cupid, Ashton Muñiz as Benny, and Elizabeth Ramos as Betti. As the play’s central couple, Alejandro and Benny, begins to fall apart, Cupid and Valentine are forced to figure out a way to get them back together. Then there's Betti, who stumbles into Cupid's orbit, sending her into a romantic tailspin of epic (and hilarious) proportions.
In Theatrely’s new interview series, Getting to Know You, we sat down with Greg Cuellar, who plays Valentine, the patron saint of love. A graduate of Columbia University, the performer has been seen in The Comedy of Errors at Classic Stage Company and New Amsterdam on NBC, among other credits.
Learn more about Greg, his artistry, and I Wanna F*ck Like Romeo & Juliet below.
How did you first come across Andrew Rincón and I Wanna F*ck Like Romeo & Juliet?
I first heard about it when I auditioned and was initially cast in 2019. The show was postponed in March 2020, but I loved the play so much I knew I would come back and do it. Andrew’s script is full of angels swooping on set, Looney Tunes-esque lazzis, and stages filled to the rafters with water. As an actor, that excites me. How on earth are we going to bring this to life?
The play explores the idea that Great Loves™ are dying/don’t exist anymore. Outside of the play, what is your own view on the state of the world when it comes to love and relationships?
The play for me is about the risk and reward of true intimacy and how difficult that can be for queer folx. It’s messy, it’s difficult, and it’s really about coming to terms with personal trauma. I think we live in an external world where going inward is not as valued as it should be, but I see the LGBTQIA+ community as resilient leaders in the fight for radical love and destigmatizing mental health. In general, I just wish everyone had access to therapy!
I loved seeing Valentine’s belief in love against the juxtaposition of Cupid’s hopelessness. Plus, their origin story is so cute! What is the best part about playing your character—and did I see a little bit of Puck in there?
Puck was certainly in the room. No one can interfere with the lives of mortals onstage without invoking their magic! The joy of playing any clown is that you get to challenge the rules of the world, and that’s no different for Valentine. Every night is a physical exploration of timing and tone– then juggling the emotional current of the character at the same time.
Have you heard/read any memorable reactions to the work that have stuck with you?
Someone told me that it was so refreshing to see a new work that focuses on the complexities of queer love—and that’s it! That’s what drew me to this work to begin with. It’s a total goofball of a show about how hard it is to share our truest selves with others.
Let’s do a speed round! What’s your hometown?
Saint Louis, MO.
What do you like to do when you’re not on stage?
I actually live in Los Angeles and love to hike, swim, and garden. I also work behind the camera to make a living: casting unscripted TV, stage managing, news programming, and theatre managing for screening houses.
Who do you think will be at the top of your Spotify 2022 Wrapped?
I don’t know what Beyoncé put in that Renaissance album, but I haven’t been able to stop listening!
What’s the best TV show you’ve watched in the past month?
What We Do in the Shadows – it’s my absolute favorite show right now – Gayle Keller please bring me in!
Read any good books lately that we should check out?
I’m currently in the middle of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong and couldn’t recommend it enough.
What is one show you are dying to see in NYC right now?
I would love to see A Strange Loop or Fiasco’s Pericles.
If you could describe your experience with I Wanna F*ck Like Romeo & Juliet so far in just one word, what would it be?
I Wanna F*ck Like Romeo & Juliet, a New Light Theater Project production, is currently playing at 59E59 through November 5. Click here for tickets and more information.