The two works will run in repertory starring the Academy Award winner in both title roles 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.
Abraham will then play in The Merchant of Venice in England for the Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival.
The 14-member company of actors includes Kate Forbes (All's Well That Ends Well, Sight Unseen) as Portia in the Shakespeare and Bellamira in the Marlowe. 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 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's adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist will conclude 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. Bartlett will direct his adaptation of the Dickens work in 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.
Subscriptions for the upcoming TFANA season are available by calling (212) 229 2819 ext. 10. For more information, visit www.tfana.org.