Two sources working on the production, who declined to reveal their identity due to the privacy of the talks, revealed to the Times that the Public Theater, Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel have been in discussions with Pacino and Lily Rabe about an extension. Merchant has been billed as a limited 78-performance run through Jan. 9, 2011.
A representative for the Public informed Playbill.com they had seen the Times report, but had nothing to announce.
The Times indicates that several cast members have forthcoming acting commitments that could snarl plans for an extension; however, the play has been a consistent seller at the box office, which has producers eager to extend.
Merchant transferred to Broadway Oct. 18 after a repertory run as part of Shakespeare in the Park this past summer. A handful of actors involved in that production, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hamish Linklater, Max Wright and Bill Heck, were unable to reprise their roles on Broadway due to previous commitments.
Pacino stars as Shylock, with Rabe as Portia, Jesse L. Martin as Gratiano, Byron Jennings as Antonio, Heather Lind as Jessica, Christopher Fitzgerald as Launcelot Gobbo, Marsha Stephanie Blake as Nerissa, David Harbour as Bassanio, Peter Francis James as Salerio and Seth Numrich as Lorenzo.
For tickets phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com. The Broadhurst Theatre is located at 235 W. 44th Street.