That indefatigable devotee of the Bard, Austin Pendleton, is at it again. Over the past decade, Pendleton — the slight character actor best known from stage shows such as Fiddler on the Roof and The Diary of Anne Frank and films such as "My Cousin Vinny" and "What's Up, Doc?" — has accepted Shakespearean roles wherever he could find them, and often on some of the smallest stages in New York City.
One of the tiny theatre companies offering Pendleton opportunities was the Frog and Peach Theatre Company. The actor played Claudius in Hamlet there in early 1999 and returned a few months later to essay Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Pendleton's latest collaboration with the company is Richard II, in which he will play the title role. The production, directed by Lynnea Benson, will run March 8-April 1, with an opening on March 11.
Pendleton first got a taste for the classics in the late '80s when he was offered the role of Hamlet by a small Upper West Side troupe. He was approaching 50 at the time but accepted the part and won some good notices. Since then, he has played Richard III three times with as many ensembles, Iago in Othello and King Lear in a 2000 production in Boston.
Pendleton's other credits include Doubles, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac, Sophistry and the aborted pre-Broadway national tour of Finian's Rainbow.
Ted Zurkowski will play Bolingbroke. Also in the cast are Martin Carey, Letty Ferrer, Matthew Freeman, Roland Johnson and Stewart Walker. Tickets are $15. The performances are at the Theatre at the West-Park Church (165 W. 86th Street). For information, all (212) 946-5321.
—By Robert Simonson