The Merchant of Venice Receives a Fresh Twist | Playbill

News The Merchant of Venice Receives a Fresh Twist Shakespeare’s classic is reinterpreted by Aaron Posner for the Folger Theatre.
Aaron Posner

Washington D.C.’s Folger Theatre has kicked off performances of District Merchants by Aaron Posner, directed by Michael John Garcés. The world-premiere production is a re-working of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, partially set in the capital itself during the post-Civil War reconstruction era.

Matthew Boston stars as the newly imagined Shylock, a Jewish, immigrant loan maker in Washington, D.C. Performances began May 31 and are scheduled to run through July 3.

“Love and litigation, deep passions, and predatory lending are taken to a new level in this uneasy comedy, which wades fearlessly into the endless complexities and contradictions of life in America. Set among the Black and Jewish populations of an imagined time and place—simultaneously Shakespearean, post-Civil War Washington, DC, and today—District Merchants is a remarkable tale of money, merchandise, and mercy,” reads a description on the Folger Shakespeare Library website.

The cast also features Maren Bush, Akeem Davis, Celeste Jones, Seth Rue, Dani Stoller, William Vaughan and Craig Wallace. The show features the music of Anders Fahey and Seth Kibel; and Christylez Bacon is composer.

Scenic design is by Tony Cisek; costume design is by Meghan Raham, lighting design is by Geoff Korf; sound design is by James Bigbee Garver; and casting is by Daryl Eisenberg, CSA. Michele Osherow is resident dramaturg; Ayanna Thompson is co-dramaturg; Roy A. Gross is production stage manager; and Elisabeth Ribar is assistant stage manager.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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