After losing Joe Morton (who was to star in Othello) to a scheduling conflict, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival decided to go with another Bard classic, The Merchant of Venice, featuring a number of veterans of the Great White Way. The production is now set to run Oct. 24-Nov. 19.
Broadway stars Stevie Ray Dallimore (The Beauty Queen of Leenane) as Bassanio, Kate Forbes (the short-lived Kelsey Grammer Macbeth) as Portia, and Nicholas Kepros (The Rehearsal, The Government Inspector and the Ian McKellen/ Tim Curry Amadeus) as Shylock will all spout iambic pentameter at the Madison, NJ stage.
Richard Corley will direct the aforementioned as well as the rest of the cast that includes Mark Elliot Wilson, Christian Conn, Michael Esper, Ramon de Ocampo, Gareth Saxe, Veronica Watt, Keldrik Crowder, Jonathan Uffelman, Pearl Theatre veteran Robert Hock, Donnie Mather, Joy Hooper, Conan McCarty, Darren Page, Michael Earle, and Walter E. Cupit.
Designing this Venice will be Larry W. Brown with sets, Linda Cho with costumes, and Matthew Adelson with lights. The production also features music by Nicholas Kitsopoulos.
NJSF's Rock Thy Brain season concludes with Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird Nov. 28-Dec. 17. The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival is located at 36 Madison Ave (Route 124) on the campus of Drew University in Madison. For ticket and travel information, call the box office at (973) 408-5600. Visit NJSF online at www.njshakespeare.org
-- by Ernio Hernandez