Bitter with William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, playwright Arthur Sainer decided to write about it. Adopting the main characters of the play and cutting the subplots, he created Jews And Christians in the End Zone, a retelling of Shakespeare's play that becomes a story about rediscovering Jewish faith rather than deserting it.
Jews And Christians begins performances at Theater for the New City's Cino Theatre Jan. 20-Feb. 6. Tanya Kane-Parry of the Shumka Dance/Theater Company directs.
When Shylock's daughter Jessica marries the Christian Venetian Lorenzo, Jews and Christians becomes the story of Jessica, who leaves the faith of her father and finds herself drowning in Venice's multi-religious, high society. Her journey is finding the way back to her Judaism after abandoning it and her father. Sainer's other plays have included Boat Sun Cavern, The Children's Army Is Late, Images of the Coming Dead and After the Baal Shem Tov. A former Village Voice drama critic, he has written the books "Zero Dances: A Biography of Zero Mostel," "The Radical Theater Notebook" and "The New Radical Theater Notebook."
Greg Petroff plays Shylock with Karen Grenke as Jessica. Also in the cast are Bruce Barton (Antonio), Celeste Ciulla (Portia), David Vining (Lorenzo), Andrew Hurley (Bassanio), Seana Lee Wyman and Nina Zavarin.
Tickets are $10 amd available by calling (212) 254-1109. The Theater for the new City performs at the Cino Theater at 155 First Avenue. -- By Christine Ehren