Evan Rachel Wood: Back To Theater Where She Began

Evan Rachel Wood has a starring role in the soon-to-be-released Woody Allen film and guest-stars in "True Blood." She's got a racy photo spread in the latest issue of GQ, and she hopes to play Mary Jane in the Broadway production of "Spider-Man."

So why did the 21-year-old Raleigh native return home starring as Juliet in six performances of "Romeo and Juliet" (starting Friday) as a fundraiser for Theatre In The Park, which her father manages?

"It was where I started," the actress said in an interview between rehearsals last week. "I wouldn't be an actress, I wouldn't be who I am if this place wasn't here. I wanted to do something to give back to it, to somehow repay it for what it gave to me."

And who she is now is a young actress with a star turn in Woody Allen's "Whatever Works," to be released next month. She also will guest star on HBO's "True Blood," playing the 500-year-old Queen of Louisiana. She still hopes to play Mary Jane Watson in Julie Taymor's version of "Spider-Man" on Broadway.

And in the May issue of GQ, she's wearing underwear and bound to a chair, talking about getting back together with rocker Marilyn Manson, a relationship she declined to discuss with The Associated Press.

She said she came home for five shows because she and brother, Ira David Wood IV, had imagined staging "Romeo and Juliet" at their father's theater since 1995, when they saw a production of it there.

They would climb on the stage after the show and pretend they were characters, complete with staging sword fights.

"We finally just went: 'You know what? We're going to do this because deserve to have this,'" Wood said.

Her brother is directing and playing Mercutio, while her father, Ira David Wood III — TIP's executive director and founder — plays Capulet.

The play is a stage homecoming for Wood, who, as a child, performed in several productions of the theater's annual "A Christmas Carol" as well as Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker." She said she did wonder what sort of reception she would get.

"I thought … is it going to be weird acting with the same people I acted with when I was 6," she said. "But it was like no time had passed at all. I just went right back into it. And nothing had changed, it was like I was just there yesterday."

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