Emond, Heck, Linklater and Jean-Baptiste Will Join Pacino for Shakespeare in the Park

News   Emond, Heck, Linklater and Jean-Baptiste Will Join Pacino for Shakespeare in the Park
The Public Theater has announced that Tony nominee Linda Emond, Bill Heck, Hamish Linklater and Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste have joined the summer repertory acting company for the Shakespeare in the Park productions of The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale.

Linda Emond and Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Linda Emond and Marianne Jean-Baptiste

The dual productions, which run June 9-Aug. 1 at the Delacorte Theater, will employ a unified company of actors who will appear under the direction of Michael Greif (Winter's Tale) and Daniel Sullivan (Merchant of Venice). As previously reported, Al Pacino, who will play Shylock in Merchant, will only perform in that production.

Emond (Life (x) 3, A Spanish Play) will portray Hermione in The Winter's Tale, with Heck (Orphans' Home Cycle) as Lord/Lorenzo, Linklater (Twelfth Night, The Busy World Is Hushed) as Autolycus/Lord/Bassanio and Jean-Baptiste ("Secrets & Lies") as Paulina/Nerissa.

The acting company will also feature Gerry Bamman (Antigonus/Duke of Venice), Francois Battiste (Florizel/Lord/Salerio), Byron Jennings (Camillo/Antonio), Heather Lind (Perdita/Jessica), Nyambi Nyambi (Lord/Prince of Morocco), Matthew Rauch (Dion/Jailer/Solanio) and Richard Topol (Lord/Tubal).

They join the previously announced Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Solanio/Young Shepherd), Jesse L. Martin (Gratiano/Polixenes), Lily Rabe (Portia), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Leontes) and Max Wright (Old Gobbo/Old Shepherd).


Hamish Linklater and Bill Heck

Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis spoke with Playbill.com about creating a repertory company for the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park season: "I come from a tradition of companies, I've almost always worked with companies. Particularly with Shakespeare, the way you get work with the highest quality is to have artists work together over time. This is the smallest possible unit of time that we can form for a company," he said.

"What I hope is that the audience is going to get some of the pleasures of rep that New York audiences have been denied in major venues," he added. "The ability to go to the theatre two nights in a row and see two different shows and see the same actors assaying completely different roles is delightful. It's really fun for audiences."

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