Director Trevor Nunn's 1999 staging of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice will open the new season of PBS's long-running series "Masterpiece Theatre." The broadcast will begin at 8 PM EST on Channel 13 in New York City (check local listings for times and channels).
In Nunn's production, Henry Goodman plays the famous and controversial role of Shylock, the money-lending Jew who is foiled in his demand for a pound of flesh in exchange for an unpaid loan. Over the years, the character has been called both an anti-Semitic caricature and a full-bodied portrait of a flawed man.
Goodman won an Olivier Award for his handling of the difficult role, while Nunn won an award himself for the direction. In the mounting, Nunn moved the action up to the 1930's, while keeping it (understandably, given the title) in Venice, specifically the famous city's small Jewish quarter (which has the historical distinction of being Europe first genuine Ghetto).
Nunn's production of Oklahoma! is expected on Broadway this coming spring.
—By Robert Simonson