The acclaimed production written by and starring Welsh actor Armstrong was originally to play eight weeks, to March 13. It began Jan. 22, officially reopening the long-dormant Perry Street Theatre in Greenwich Village. Armstrong has performed Shylock around the world.
The staging is presented by Martin Platt, Richard Jordan, David Elliott and Rosalie Beer in association with Robert Friedman.
Directed by Frank Barrie with original music by Simon Slater, Shylock tells the story of The Merchant of Venice "from the view point of Tubal, Shylock's best and only friend." The play is billed as "a riveting show that reflects the love and understanding of Shakespeare's genius by skillfully weaving excerpts of the play with the perpetual legacy of anti-Semitism."
Shylock "confronts and confounds the stereotypes in a unique exploration of the funny, tragic and often unbelievable life of fiction's most famous Jew," according to production notes.
Opening night was Jan. 30. Perry Street Theatre is at 31 Perry Street (West of Seventh Avenue). *
Born in Wales, Gareth Armstrong has performed in the West End, and as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company has worked in Stratford and at the Aldwych. His work as a director includes founding the "Made in Wales" Stage Company, formed to present new Anglo-Welsh play writing, and he was an artistic director of Cardiff' Sherman Theatre. As a freelance director he has worked in Salisbury and Northampton, and on touring productions — most recently Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and The Gospel According to St John. He has worked on Shakespeare productions in more than 30 countries worldwide as actor, director and teacher, and he has played roles ranging from Puck to Richard III, and from Andrew Aguecheek to Macbeth.
Director Frank Barrie's career in repertory included seasons at the old Salisbury Playhouse and the Bristol Old Vic. He is a member of the National Theatre playing parts such as Bassanio to Laurence Olivier's Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Leading roles have included Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard II, Richard III, Benedick and Malvolio. Before working on Shylock, he directed John Fraser's one-man play The Man Who Wrote Peter Pan. He also tours with Gayle Hunnicutt in The Lives and Loves of Edith Wharton and in his latest piece Playing Shakespeare. His scripts include Wellington, The Family of Ham, The Other Woman and The Devil You Know. His hugely successful one-man show Macready played London and Broadway.
The 99-seat Perry Street Theatre originally opened in 1982 with the production of Penelope and remained a staple of downtown theatre for over a decade. In 1987 it became home to New York Theatre Workshop until 1992 when they moved to their East 4th Street home. In 1993 the Barrow Group presented its work there until the theatre closed its doors in 1995. The Perry Street Theatre housed such works as the OBIE Award winning The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and Dylan Thomas: Return Journey.
The performance schedule is Wednesday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM, Sunday at 3 PM and 7 PM.
Tickets are $55. For information, call (212) 868-4444 or visit smarttix.com.