Broadway Return of The Merchant of Venice Includes New Cast Members

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31 Jan 2011

Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Joan Marcus

The Public Theater staging of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino and Lily Rabe, will return to Broadway Feb. 1 with a few new faces on the rialto.

The Merchant of Venice resumes performances after a brief hiatus, which began Jan. 9 in order to allow Pacino to fulfill prior film commitments. While much of the Broadway cast will return, Rent actor Jesse L. Martin (who played Gratiano) and Seth Numrich (Lorenzo) have departed the production.

Numrich exits Merchant to lead the Broadway production of War Horse for Lincoln Center Theater. Martin's upcoming production commitments precluded him from returning, according to the Public.

David Aaron Baker (Why Torture Is Wrong at the Public) will step into the role of Gratiano, while understudy Thomas Michael Hammond has been moved up to the role of Lorenzo. Actor Brian Sgambati (Prelude to a Kiss at the Huntington) has joined the ensemble.

Under the direction of Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice began previews Oct. 19, 2010, and officially opened Nov. 13. The extension will continue through Feb. 20 at the Broadhurst Theatre. The new musical Baby, It's You will begin performances there in March.



The Merchant of Venice recouped its $3.45 million investment Jan. 6. The Public Theater, Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel produce the Broadway engagement. The revival began life as part of the Public Theater's 2010 Shakespeare in the Park lineup.

Pacino stars as Shylock opposite Rabe as Portia. Principal casting also includes Byron Jennings (Inherit the Wind) as Antonio, Heather Lind as Jessica, Gerry Bamman (Mrs. Farnsworth) as the Duke of Venice, Matthew Rauch (Still Life) as Solanio, Richard Topol (Awake and Sing!) as Tubal, Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (Finian's Rainbow, Wicked) as Launcelot Gobbo, Marsha Stephanie Blake (Joe Turner's Come and Gone) as Nerissa, David Harbour (The Coast of Utopia) as Bassanio, Peter Francis James (On Golden Pond) as Salerio, Isaiah Johnson as Prince of Morocco and Charles Kimbrough (Accent on Youth) as Prince of Arragon.

For tickets phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com. The Broadhurst Theatre is located at 235 W. 44th Street.