Austin Pendleton, who played Claudius in a new production of Hamlet by New York's Frog & Peach Theater Company earlier this year, recently returned to that company -- and to Shakespeare -- to play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. The play, which began performances April 15 and opened April 18, will end its runs May 9.
Pendleton plays opposite Josephine Gallarello, as Portia, and Jason Kuschner, as Antonio. Lynnea Benson, who piloted Hamlet, will direct.
Over the past decade, the Obie Award-winning Pendleton has made a habit of accepting big roles in classics presented by small Off-Off-Broadway companies. One of his first such roles was the title role in Hamlet, staged by the now-defunct Riverside Shakespeare Company. Recent roles have included Richard III and Iago.
Pendleton began his acting career in the original production of Oh Dad, Poor Dad... by Arthur Kopit and directed by Jerome Robbins. Other credits include Fiddler on the Roof , The Last, Sweet Days of Isaac , The Sorrows of Frederick , Sophistry , acting in the Mike Nichols The Little Foxes and directing the Elizabeth Taylor The Little Foxes . His movies include "What's Up, Doc?," "Simon," "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" and "Amistad." He's also author of the acclaimed plays Booth and Uncle Bob. Pendleton's last Broadway assignment was as Mr. Dussel in James Lapine's revival of The Diary of Anne Frank.
Admission to The Merchant of Venice is free. Call (212) 946-5321 for information on Hamlet . -- By Robert Simonson