"News on the Rialto": Merchant of Venice, with Al Pacino, Begins Broadway Run Oct. 19

News   "News on the Rialto": Merchant of Venice, with Al Pacino, Begins Broadway Run Oct. 19
The Public Theater production of The Merchant of Venice, starring Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino as the implacable moneylender Shylock, begins Broadway previews Oct. 19 at the Broadhurst Theatre.

Heather Lind and Al Pacino
Heather Lind and Al Pacino Photo by Joan Marcus

Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan (Proof) stages the dark take on the tale of greed, love, faith and vengeance, which brings a brutal pathos to Shakespeare's comedy. The production began life during the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park series at the Delacorte Theater where it played in repertory with The Winter's Tale.

The Merchant of Venice will officially open Nov. 7 and play a limited 78-performance engagement through Jan. 9, 2011. The Public Theater, Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel produce the Broadway outing.

The Broadway revival of Merchant marks Pacino's third outing in the iconic role. He also appeared as Shylock in Michael Radford's screen adaptation of Merchant to acclaim in 2004. Pacino last appeared on Broadway in Oscar Wilde's Salome: The Reading in 2003.

Returning from the Shakespeare in the Park run are Lily Rabe (The American Plan, Steel Magnolias, Heartbreak House) as Portia, Jesse L. Martin (Rent) as Gratiano, 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 and Richard Topol (Awake and Sing!) as Tubal.

New for the Broadway engagement are 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, Charles Kimbrough (Accent on Youth) as Prince of Arragon and Seth Numrich (On the Levee) as Lorenzo. Returning ensemble members include Happy Anderson, Liza J. Bennett, Bryce Gill, Jade Hawk, Bethany Heinrich, Tia James, Kelsey Kurz, Brian Macdonald and Dorien Makhloghi. The Broadway run also includes new ensemble members Glenn Fleshler, Luke Forbes, Herb Foster, Thomas M. Hammond, Curt Hostetter, Dorien Makhloghi, Kim Martin-Cotten and Baylen Thomas.

The Broadway run of Merchant reunites the Shakespeare in the Park creative team, including Mark Wendland (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Kenneth Posner (lighting design) and Acme Sound Partners (sound design). Dan Moses Schreier penned original music for Merchant of Venice.

Here's how the Public bills the Shakespeare classic: "The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most thrilling and controversial plays, rich with love and betrayal, forgiveness and revenge. The Jewish moneylender Shylock makes a loan to Antonio, a Christian merchant. Their loan contract, steeped in prejudice and centered on the play's infamous 'pound of flesh,' sweeps the two men and everyone in their worlds into chaos. Only the insightful Portia can imagine a way forward, but for her and those she loves, even 'the quality of mercy' has its limits."

Pacino earned a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear Necktie? and was also honored with a Tony Award for The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. Pacino starred in the 1996 production of Hughie, which he also directed. In addition to his stage roles in Camino Real, King Richard III, American Buffalo and Chinese Coffee, he is well known for the films "Scent of a Woman" (Academy Award), "The Godfather," "Scarface," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Frankie and Johnny," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Ocean's Thirteen" and "Angels in America."

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

Jesse L. Martin, Byron Jennings and Gerry Bamman
Jesse L. Martin, Byron Jennings and Gerry Bamman
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