Monday, July 26, 2010

The Public To Transfer Merchant

The Public To Transfer Merchant

If you're among the throngs of disappointed theatregoers who has been unable to get free tickets to see The Merchant Of Venice in Central Park this summer, you can breathe a little easier.

While it won't necessarily cost you a pound of flesh, these tickets certainly won't be free. After weeks of speculation, the Public Theater just announced it's transferring William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice to Broadway this fall. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, this production famously stars Al Pacino as Shylock.

The Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) lists a total of 49 previous New York City productions stetching all the way back to 1768 for what is arguably The Bard's most controversial play. It's particularly provocative due to its depiction of the eponymous character and the ongoing debate over whether that characterization is anti-Semitic. (The play certainly gave me pause when I saw it for my first time a few years ago.)

Perhaps that's why it's been nearly 20 years since the last Broadway revival of The Merchant Of Venice. That Tony-nominated revival opened on December 19, 1989, at the 46th Street Theatre (now Richard Rodgers Theatre) and played 84 regular performances. Directed by Peter Hall, starred Dustin Hoffman as Shylock and Geraldine James as Portia. Hall, Hoffman and James would each earn Tony nods for their work.

The Public will produce this transfer at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre, a considerably smaller space than Central Park's Delacorte Theatre. The limited run's performances will commence October 19 and conclude January 9, 2011.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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