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Tuesday, 21 September 2010 13:10

The Public Theater Announces Complete Cast for THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

The Public Theater
(Artistic Director Oskar Eustis;
Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson)
Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel
Announce Complete Casting For


On Broadway


Lily Rabe Returns as Portia

Byron Jennings, Jesse L. Martin, Gerry Bamman,
Heather Lind, Matthew Rauch, and Richard Topol
Will Reprise Their Roles

Christopher Fitzgerald, David Harbour, Peter Francis James, Isaiah Johnson, Charles Kimbrough,
Seth Numrich, and Marsha Stephanie Blake Join The Cast

Performances Begin October 19 at the Broadhurst Theatre
For This Limited Run

September 21, 2010 – The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson), Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel announced complete casting today for Daniel Sullivan’s critically acclaimed production of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, beginning performances at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 W. 44th Street) on Tuesday, October 19 for 78 performances only. 

Lily Rabe (Portia), Byron Jennings (Antonio), Jesse L. Martin (Gratiano), Gerry Bamman (Duke of Venice), Heather Lind (Jessica), Matthew Rauch (Solanio), and Richard Topol (Tubal) join the previously announced Al Pacino (Shylock) in reprising their roles from the critically acclaimed Shakespeare in the Park production this past summer.

New cast members joining the company include Marsha Stephanie Blake (Nerissa), Christopher Fitzgerald (Launcelot Gobbo),David Harbour (Bassanio), Peter Francis James (Salerio), Isaiah Johnson (Prince of Morocco), Charles Kimbrough (Prince of Arragon), and Seth Numrich (Lorenzo).

The company will also feature Happy Anderson, Liza J. Bennett, Glenn Fleshler, Luke Forbes, Herb Foster, Bryce Gill, Thomas M. Hammond, Jade Hawk, Bethany Heinrich, Curt Hostetter, Tia James, Kelsey Kurz, Brian Macdonald, Dorien Makhloghi, Kim Martin-Cotten, and Baylen Thomas.

The design team for THE MERCHANT OF VENICE will feature scenic design by Mark Wendland; costume design by Jess Goldstein; lighting design by Kenneth Posner; sound design by Acme Sound Partners; and original music by Dan Moses Schreier.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE begins performances on Tuesday, October 19 at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 W. 44th Street) and will run through Sunday, January 9. Opening Night is scheduled for Sunday, November 7 at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for this limited engagement at Tele-Charge at 212-239-6200 or


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.

“A marvelous new production. This is a Merchant for the age of Wall Street bubble boomers,

a haunting indictment of a money-drunk society.”—Ben Brantley, New York Times

Not only is this the best Merchant of Venice I’ve ever reviewed, but it’s one of the finest Shakespeare productions I’ve ever seen, period.  This Merchant cries out to be seen by everyone in New York, or America, for that matter, with a passion for truly great theater.”

--Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

“Daniel Sullivan’s smart, sober and thrillingly acted production

has a passionate leading man in Al Pacino.”—Davie Cote, New York One

The Public Theater is transferring THE MERCHANT OF VENICE to Broadway with co-producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel who are also partnering with The Public on the upcoming Broadway transfer of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.  Richards and Frankel partnered with The Public on the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair on Broadway, London’s West End and the upcoming national tour of Hair beginning in October in Washington, DC.


 AL PACINO (Shylock). On Broadway, he won Tony Awards for his performances in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and appeared in Camino Real, Richard III, American Buffalo, Chinese Coffee, Hughie (which he also directed), and two productions of Salome (1992 and 2003). Previously at The Public Theater, he played Marcus Antonius in Stuart Vaughan’s production of Julius Caesar (1988). His additional New York stage appearances include The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, The Local Stigmatic and The Indian Wants The Bronx. He has appeared in more than 35 films, receiving Academy Award nominations for his performances in The Godfather, Serpico, The Godfather: Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, …And Justice For All, Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross; he won an Oscar for Scent of a Woman and an Emmy for Mike Nichols’ miniseries “Angels in America.”He recently received an Emmy Award for his role as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack.”

LILY RABE (Portia). Her Broadway credits include The American Plan, Heartbreak House (OCC nomination, Callaway Award), and Steel Magnolias (Drama Desk nomination). Her off-Broadway and regional credits include Crimes of the Heart, Colder Than Here, Proof, and The Crazy Girl. Her film credits include the upcoming All Good Things (December 2010) as well as Letters from the Big Man, Weakness, Aftermath, What Just Happened, The Toe Tactic, No Reservations, A Crime, Mona Lisa Smile, and Never Again.  Her TV credits include “Last of the Ninth,” “Saving Grace,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Medium,” and all three “Law & Order” series.

GERRY BAMMAN (Duke of Venice). His recent works include Nixon in Nixon's Nixon (Obie, Drama League award Best Featured Actor); The Glass Cage; Bartleby the Scrivener; Encounter at Vallodilid; Lowell Limpet; Shakespeare, Moses and Joe Papp (Helen Hayes Award Best New Play); and Mrs. Farnsworth. His film credits include Runaway Jury, Two Family House, Passion of Mind, Home Alone 1 and 2, Lorenzo's Oil, Secret of My Success, Bodyguard, True Believer, and Pink Cadillac. He is afounding member of the Manhattan Project.

MARSHA STEPHANIE BLAKE (Nerissa) last appeared on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Her other New York theater appearances include The Crucible on Broadway, What Once We Felt at The Duke, This Beautiful City at The Vineyard, Queens Boulevard at Signature, The Gentleman Dancing-Master and The Master Builderat The Pearl, Aunt Dan and Lemon at The New Group, and Twelfth Night (2002) at Shakespeare in the Park.

CHRISTOPHER FITZGERALD (Launcelot Gobbo) earned a Tony Nomination and a Drama Desk Award for his performance in the recent Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow. He has also appeared on Broadway in the original casts of Young Frankenstein(Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Wicked, and Amour (Drama Desk nomination). His off-Broadway credits include Gutenberg! The Musical!, Observe the Sons of Ulster…, Saturday Night (Drama Desk nomination), Fully Committed, Corpus Christi, and The Cripple of Inishmaan.

DAVID HARBOUR (Bassanio) played Laertes in the 2008 Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. His additional theater credits include the Broadway productions of The Coast of Utopia, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Invention of Love, and The Rainmaker. His off-Broadway credits include Between Us, The Two Noble Kinsmen, A Bad Friend, Fifth of July, Stranger, and The Time of the Cuckoo.

PETER FRANCIS JAMES (Salerio). His Broadway credits include On Golden Pond and Judgment at Nuremberg. He won Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards for his performance as Colin Powell in Daniel Sullivan’s production of Stuff Happens at The Public Theater. His numerous New York stage credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Venus, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Antigone, and Julius Caesar at The Public Theater.

BYRON JENNINGS (Antonio). HisBroadway credits include Inherit the Wind, Noises Off, Is He Dead?, Macbeth; Accent on Youth, Heartbreak House, A Touch of the Poet, Twelve Angry Men, The Man Who Came To Dinner, A Month in the Country, Henry IV, Dinner At Eight, The Invention of Love, Carousel, and Sight Unseen. His credits forThe Public Theater include Stuff Happens, The Merchant of Venice, On The Open Road, and Pericles.

ISAIAH JOHNSON (Prince of Morocco) has starred in numerous regional productions, including Once on This Island, Big River, Gutter Beautiful, Topdog/Underdog, Petite Rouge, Blues Journey, and Ragtime.  He is a recent graduate of NYU, where his credits included ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Wonder, Mud, River, Stone, The Philanderer, and Burn This.

CHARLES KIMBROUGH (Prince of Arragon) was most recently seen on Broadway in Daniel Sullivan’s production of Accent on Youth. He earned a Tony nomination for his performance in Stephen Sondheim’s Company and a Drama Desk nomination for Sunday in the Park With George. His other Broadway appearances have included Hay Fever, One Night Stand, The Water Engine/Mr. Happiness, Boy Meets Girl, Secret Service, The Rules of the Game, Love for Love, Candide, and Cop-Out. He received Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance as Jim Dial on TV’s “Murphy Brown.”

HEATHER LIND (Jessica) made her Public Theater debut this summer in The Merchant of Venice. Her regional credits include Williamstown Theatre Festival (Fellowship Company, Free Theatre, Greylock Project), and Capital Repertory Theatre (Metamorphoses.)  Her TV credits include “Guiding Light,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” 

JESSE L. MARTIN (Gratiano). His Broadway credits include Rent, Timon of Athens, and The Inspector General. His other theater credits include I Ain’t Yo Uncle, The Arabian Nights, The Butcher’s Daughter, Romeo & Juliet, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. His film credits include Rent, Peter and Vandy, Cake Eaters, Season of Youth, and The Restaurant. His TV credits include nine years on “Law & Order;” “The Philanthropist;” “The X-Files;” “Ally McBeal;” “413 Hope Street;” “New York Undercover;” and Deep In My Heart.

SETH NUMRICH (Lorenzo) was most recently seen in the LCT3 production of On the Levee. His additional theater credits include Iphigenia 2.0 at Signature, History Boys at the Ahmanson, Measure for Measure for Chautauqua Theater Co., Summer and Smoke at the Guthrie, To Kill a Mockingbird at The History Theater, and The Diary of Anne Frank at the Park Square Theater.

MATTHEW RAUCH (Solanio). His New York credits include Roundabout, MCC, New Group, Signature, Red Bull, and more. His regional credits include Williamstown, Long Wharf, Arena, Shakespeare Theatre, Hartford Stage, many others.  His film credits include StagsThe AbsenceBreaking PointNo Reservations, and Invitation to a Suicide. His screenwriter credits (with Brad Shelton) include Between Two WavesFever (films) and his television credits include "House of Cards," "Dr. Bob," and "In Between Days."

RICHARD TOPOL (Tubal). His Broadway credits include Awake and Sing! (Drama Desk Award), Cymbeline, The Country Girl, Julius Caesar (w/ Denzel Washington), and School for Scandal.  His off-Broadway credits include When The Rain Stops Falling (LCT); Hamlet (TFANA); Mouth to Mouth (New Group); Opus (Primary Stages); Twelfth Night, The African Company... (Public); also Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep. His film and television credits include Mickey Blue Eyes, Party Girl, all “Law & Orders,” “Damages,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Rescue Me,” “Ghost Whisperer,” and “Ed.”

DANIEL Sullivan (Director). His Broadway credits include Time Stands Still, Accent on Youth, The Homecoming, Prelude to a Kiss, Rabbit Hole, After the Night and the Music, Julius Caesar, Brooklyn Boy, Sight Unseen, The Retreat From Moscow, Morning’s at Seven, Proof, Major Barbara, the 2000 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten, Ah, Wilderness!, An American Daughter, The Sisters Rosensweig, Conversations With My Father, The Heidi Chronicles and I’m Not Rappaport. He directed The Merchant of Venice at the Delacorte Theater this summer and directed the 2009 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night and the 2007 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Sullivan’s other Public Theater credits include Stuff Happens (2006), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (1994). His numerous off-Broadway credits include Intimate Apparel, Far East, Spinning into Butter, Dinner With Friends and The Substance of Fire. From 1981 to 1997, Sullivan served as Artistic Director of Seattle Repertory Theatre, where he directed more than 60 productions. Sullivan’s film and television credits include The Substance of Fire and “Far East.” 

THE PUBLIC THEATER (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Andrew D. Hamingson, Executive Director)was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, and productions of classics at its downtown headquarters and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day onstage and through extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public has won 42 Tony Awards, 151 Obies, 41 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. The Public has brought 53 shows to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk; On the Town; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Elaine Stritch at Liberty; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Well; Passing Strange; the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair; and, this fall, the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park revival of The Merchant of Venice.

JEFFREY RICHARDS (Producer) is celebrating his 10th year as a Broadway producer, having presented Gore Vidal’s The Best Man in the fall of 2000. Among the plays and musicals which he has presented with his partner Jerry Frankel are Hair, August: Osage County, The Homecoming, Race, Speed-the-Plow, Glengarry Glen Ross, Radio Golf, Blithe Spirit, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America, Talk Radio, Reasons to be Pretty, November and Enron. Upcoming: David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre starring Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight, directed by Neil Pepe, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, written and directed by Alex Timbers and featuring music by Michael Friedman.

JERRY FRANKEL (Producer) has received Tony Awards for producing Hair, August: Osage County, Spring Awakening, Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of a Salesman. Other Broadway: Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts; David Mamet’s Race; Neil LaBute’s Reasons to be Pretty; Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America; Blithe Spirit; Enron; All About Me; November; The Homecoming; Talk Radio; Radio Golf (New York Drama Critics Circle Award); Enchanted April (Outer Critics Circle Award); Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, Outstanding Revival of a Play); Jekyll & Hyde; and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Drama Desk Award). Regional: numerous productions at the Park Cities Playhouse in Dallas, including Love Letters with Charlton Heston. Film: Slap Shot with Paul Newman, Eye of the Needle with Donald Sutherland, The Big Easy and Fastbreak.

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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE begins performances on Tuesday, October 19 and continues through Sunday, January 9 with an official press opening on Sunday, November 7 at 6:45 pm. The performance schedule is Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m; and Sundays at 2 p.m.

There will be no performances November 14 – 17; Thursday, November 25; December 13-16; Saturday, December 25; Friday, December 31. There will be a 2 p.m. performance on Friday, November 26; a 7 p.m. performance on Monday, December 20; a 2 p.m. performance on Friday, December 24; an 8 p.m. performance on Sunday, December 26; and a 7 p.m. performance on Monday, December 27.

Tickets for THE MERCHANT OF VENICE are $126.50 to $136.50. Tickets are on sale now through or at (212) 293-6200.

The Broadhurst Theatre is located at 235 W. 44th Street.