The two works — starring the Academy Award winner in both title roles — will run in repertory at The Duke on 42nd Street. Darko Tresnjak directs Abraham as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice Jan. 6-March 11, 2007, and David Herskovits stages The Jew of Malta with the actor as Barabas, Jan. 17-March 10, 2007. Both shows open Feb. 4.
Kate Forbes (All's Well That Ends Well, Sight Unseen) also stars as Portia in the Shakespeare and Bellamira in the Marlowe. The 14-member company also includes Kenajuan Bentley, Arnie Burton, Cameron Folmar, Ezra Knight, John Lavelle, Nicole Lowrance, Vince Nappo, Tom Nelis, Saxon Palmer, Matthew Schneck, Christen Simon and Marc Vietor.
The creative team for both productions includes John Lee Beatty (sets) and David Weiner (lighting). Linda Cho designs costumes for The Merchant of Venice and David Zinn handles those duties for The Jew of Malta. The fight choreographer is J. Steven White.
The new three-play season for the classics-devoted company focuses on Jews in English literature. "Three acknowledged masterpieces of English literature make up our season," said artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz, "but they are also all works that have been controversial, their meaning and purpose contested over centuries of public performance and discussion. All three explore the figure of the outsider in society, and in all three, a part of that exploration is focused on images of Jews as outsiders in the predominantly Christian society of pre-20th-century Europe."
Neil Bartlett directs his adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, which concludes the lineup with a March 29-April 15, 2007, run at John Jay College's Gerald W. Lynch Theater. Opening night is slated for April 1. The Dickens work is a co-production between TFANA and Cambridge, Massachusetts' American Repertory Theatre. Abraham earned an Academy Award for his turn in the movie version of Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" as composer Antonio Salieri. He most recently appeared in the Off-Broadway run of Trumbo, the Madison Square Garden A Christmas Carol and Encores! presentation of New Moon. His other stage credits include Triumph of Love, A Month in the Country, Angels in America, King Lear and The Fantasticks.
Tickets to the TFANA shows at The Duke, 228 West 42 St., are available by calling (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit www.tfana.org.