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The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

"thrilling...extraordinary...Shakespeare's text cracks through the air like lightning" - Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

"...beautifully conceived and executed...wallopingly powerful...top-notch production...Epstein is mightily good as Shylock" - Albany Times Union

"Epstein is one of the great actors in New England." - Ed Siegel, WBUR

A perilous romance. A tragic history. An infamous wager. Shakespeare’s most controversial yet poignant play offers a visceral display of courtship, prejudice, money and revenge, ending ultimately in a choice between life and death. Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer reunites with longtime Company member Jonathan Epstein as Shylock, the Bard’s most memorable and highly charged outsider.

Cast: Kate Abbruzzese, Peter Andersen, Jason Asprey, Erick Avari, Thomas Brazzle, Jonathan Epstein, Michael Fuchs, Deaon Griffin-Pressley, John Hadden, Tamara Hickey, Cloteal Horne, Shahar Isaac, Bella Merlin, Dylan Wittrock

Generously sponsored by Dr. Gerald and Roberta Friedman

Photos & Videos

Kate Abbruzzese and Jonathan Epstein. 'The Merchant of Venice' Invited Dress Rehearsal, Shakespeare & Company 2016. Photo by John Dolan.

Jonathan Epstein and John Hadden. 'The Merchant of Venice' Invited Dress Rehearsal, Shakespeare & Company 2016. Photo by John Dolan.

Artists

Kate Abbruzzese

Kate Abbruzzese

(Jessica) fourth season with S&Co: Portia, Casca Julius Caesar; title role Hamlet; Susie Parasite Drag. Off Broadway: Ann Weis Scotty; Carl Linnaeus My Favorite Character Was the Talking Vase. Regional: Lizzy Bennet Pride and Prejudice (Baltimore Center Stage); Miranda, the Tempest , Allie Dairyland (Chautauqua Theatre Company); Perdita, The more(Jessica) fourth season with S&Co: Portia, Casca Julius Caesar; title role Hamlet; Susie Parasite Drag. Off Broadway: Ann Weis Scotty; Carl Linnaeus My Favorite Character Was the Talking Vase. Regional: Lizzy Bennet Pride and Prejudice (Baltimore Center Stage); Miranda, the Tempest , Allie Dairyland (Chautauqua Theatre Company); Perdita, The Winter’s Tale(Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival); title role Sylvia (Florida Studio Theatre); Desdemona Othello (Tennessee Shakespeare Festival). Recipient of the Molly Thatcher Kazan Memorial Award, the Ron Van Lieu Scholarship, and the Olympia Dukakis Scholarship. MFA in NYU Graduate Acting (Class of 2015).

Peter Andersen

Peter Andersen

(Solanio) Second season with S&Co. Previous roles: Ensemble, Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World; Laertes, Hamlet; Avery, The Flick (Company One), Peter, Henry VI Pt 2 (Actor’s Shakespeare Project); Aaron, Titus Androncisu (The Humanist Project); Cassius, Julius Caesar (Emerson College); and Brutus, Julius Caesar (S&Co Conservatory). Peter obtained more(Solanio) Second season with S&Co. Previous roles: Ensemble, Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World; Laertes, Hamlet; Avery, The Flick (Company One), Peter, Henry VI Pt 2 (Actor’s Shakespeare Project); Aaron, Titus Androncisu (The Humanist Project); Cassius, Julius Caesar (Emerson College); and Brutus, Julius Caesar (S&Co Conservatory). Peter obtained his BFA in Acting from Emerson College. He has worked as an administrator and educator for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and has worked at TimeLine Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as an assistant director. He also runs the popular Shakespeare in the Pub series in New York and Boston. As a director Peter has created several immersive pieces including The Cafe Collections and O/A: The Sophocles Project. Visit his webpage at: www.PeterGAndersen.com

Martin Jason Asprey

Martin Jason Asprey

(Graziano) twenty-fourth season (Calaban, The Tempest; Cloten, Cymbeline). Recent S&Co: Graziano, The Merchant of Venice; Speed, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Priest, Mother of the Maid; Cassius, Julius Caesar; Ferdinand, Love’s Labour’s Lost; Derek, Accomplice; Richard Hannay, The 39 Steps; Parasite Drag; Frank, The Memory of Water; Autolycus, The Winter’s more(Graziano) twenty-fourth season (Calaban, The Tempest; Cloten, Cymbeline). Recent S&Co: Graziano, The Merchant of Venice; Speed, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Priest, Mother of the Maid; Cassius, Julius Caesar; Ferdinand, Love’s Labour’s Lost; Derek, Accomplice; Richard Hannay, The 39 Steps; Parasite Drag; Frank, The Memory of Water; Autolycus, The Winter’s Tale; Lord Hastings/Oxford, Richard III and Hamlet (Title Role). Recent Regional: Cassius, Julius Caesar (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre); Robert, Betrayal (Nora Theatre); Eduard Einstein, Einstein’s Dreams (Culture Project NYC) and Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet (Swine Palace), and Theatre in England, where he has also worked in TV and film.

Erick Avari

Erick Avari

(Duke/Morocco/Aragon) First season with S&Co. Erick owes his training and success in the industry to Shakespeare & Company and is delighted to be returning after 35 years. Broadway: The King & I, Rasputin. Off Broadway: A Map of the World, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 'Tis Pity She’s a Whore more(Duke/Morocco/Aragon) First season with S&Co. Erick owes his training and success in the industry to Shakespeare & Company and is delighted to be returning after 35 years. Broadway: The King & I, Rasputin. Off Broadway: A Map of the World, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 'Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Joe Papp’s Public Theater). The Mormon Project (for Mabou Mines); The Screens (Guthrie Theater); To Die for Grenada (Cleveland Playhouse). Film: Stargate, The Mummy, Mr. Deeds, Daredevil, Planet Of The Apes, Hachi: A Dog’s Story. TV: Heroes, The Brink, Star Trek (TNG, DS9 & Enterprise), SG1, Madam Secretary etc.

Thomas Brazzle

Thomas Brazzle

(Gobbo) fourth season (Posthumous, Cymbeline; Sebastian, The Tempest). S&Co: Proteus (Two Gentlemen of Verona); Gobbo(The Merchant of Venice); Richard II; The Tempest; Walter (Kaufman’s Barbershop). Regional: Edmund, King Lear (Guthrie Theater, MN); Grand Concourse; The Droll (WAM Theatre Fresh Takes Series); Franco Wicks, Superior Donuts; Alonzo, Look Away (World Premiere, more(Gobbo) fourth season (Posthumous, Cymbeline; Sebastian, The Tempest). S&Co: Proteus (Two Gentlemen of Verona); Gobbo(The Merchant of Venice); Richard II; The Tempest; Walter (Kaufman’s Barbershop). Regional: Edmund, King Lear (Guthrie Theater, MN); Grand Concourse; The Droll (WAM Theatre Fresh Takes Series); Franco Wicks, Superior Donuts; Alonzo, Look Away (World Premiere, (TheatreSquared, AR); Reggie, Sam (New Play Fest, Portland Stage); Axel, The Pelican; Aaron, Titus (NYC); Tybalt, Romeo & Juliet; Borachio, Much Ado About Nothing; Alsatian Fogerty, Peter Pan. Thomas is a NYC playwright and holds an MFA from UCONN, thomasbrazzle.com.

Jonathan Epstein

Jonathan Epstein

(Shylock) thirtieth season (Cymbeline, Cymbeline, the Author, Via Dolorosa) S&Co: More than 50 productions including King Lear, Tempest, As You Like It, Much Ado, Richard III, Merchant of Venice, Midsummer, Merry Wives, Women of Will, Private Eyes, Brief Lives. He has performed on and off-Broadway and at scores of regional more(Shylock) thirtieth season (Cymbeline, Cymbeline, the Author, Via Dolorosa) S&Co: More than 50 productions including King Lear, Tempest, As You Like It, Much Ado, Richard III, Merchant of Venice, Midsummer, Merry Wives, Women of Will, Private Eyes, Brief Lives. He has performed on and off-Broadway and at scores of regional theatres around the country including Berkshire Theatre Festival (Amadeus, Cuckoo’s Nest, Via Dolorosa, Educating Rita...) and ART (Merchant of Venice, Phaedra, Paradise Lost). He is a two-time recipient of the Elliot Norton Award and is an Associate Professor of Classical Performance at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training where this year he directed their outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and is scheduled to follow it next spring with Much Ado About Nothing.

Michael Fuchs

Michael Fuchs

(Old Gobbo/Tubal) First season with S&Co. New York: David, Company; Ensemble, Pantagleize; Regional: Antipholus of Syracuse, Comedy of Errors; Bridegroom Blood Wedding; Rev. John Witherspoon, 1776; Aslan The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Arnold Needham, No Sex Please, We’re British. Michael holds degrees from MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, more(Old Gobbo/Tubal) First season with S&Co. New York: David, Company; Ensemble, Pantagleize; Regional: Antipholus of Syracuse, Comedy of Errors; Bridegroom Blood Wedding; Rev. John Witherspoon, 1776; Aslan The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Arnold Needham, No Sex Please, We’re British. Michael holds degrees from MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Leicester in the UK. He trained at New York’s HB Studio and at Shakespeare and Company, and is an Equity Membership Candidate.

Deaon  Griffin-Pressley

Deaon Griffin-Pressley

(Lorenzo) third season (Pisanio, Cymbeline; Ferdinand, (The Tempest). S&Co: Richard lll (Lovers’ Spat), Osric (Hamlet), Lorenzo (The Merchant of Venice), Outlaw 3 (Two Gentlemen of Verona). The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre: Orsino (Twelfth Night), Hortensio (Taming of the Shrew). Hypokrit Theatre Company: Mercutio/Tybalt (rep) (Romeo & Juliet). Oxford Shakespeare Company: Macbeth more(Lorenzo) third season (Pisanio, Cymbeline; Ferdinand, (The Tempest). S&Co: Richard lll (Lovers’ Spat), Osric (Hamlet), Lorenzo (The Merchant of Venice), Outlaw 3 (Two Gentlemen of Verona). The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre: Orsino (Twelfth Night), Hortensio (Taming of the Shrew). Hypokrit Theatre Company: Mercutio/Tybalt (rep) (Romeo & Juliet). Oxford Shakespeare Company: Macbeth (Macbeth), Clarence (Richard lll). Film: Stricken (New York Film Academy). Deaon has studied acting at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford University, with a full scholarship from the English Speaking Union. He is also a NYC based playwright with works featured at The Lark, Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre & Fringe Festival NYC. Follow Instragram @dgppoetry.

John Hadden

John Hadden

(Antonio) has worked in theaters here and abroad, as well as on TV and radio, independent films, schools and universities. He is a founding member of Shakespeare & Co, was artistic director of Counterpoint Theater (Boston), of the Hubbard Hall Theater Co (Cambridge, NY), and associate artist with We Players more(Antonio) has worked in theaters here and abroad, as well as on TV and radio, independent films, schools and universities. He is a founding member of Shakespeare & Co, was artistic director of Counterpoint Theater (Boston), of the Hubbard Hall Theater Co (Cambridge, NY), and associate artist with We Players (San Francisco). This year he is touring a solo show based on his book Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA, and Me (Arcade, 2016). He is pleased to be back, and happy to working with his dog Ella (as Crab). More at johnlhadden.com and maskedman.org.

Tamara Hickey

Tamara Hickey

(Portia) third season (Georgie, Heisenberg). S&Co: Cymbeline, TheTempest, Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona; Regional: Appropriate, SpeakEasy Stage; God’s Ear-Elliot Norton Award Best Actress & Best Production, Henry VIII, Pericles, Living In Exile, Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Rancho Mirage, New Repertory Theatre; Cabaret, American Repertory Theatre-IRNE Award Best Ensemble; Film: more(Portia) third season (Georgie, Heisenberg). S&Co: Cymbeline, TheTempest, Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona; Regional: Appropriate, SpeakEasy Stage; God’s Ear-Elliot Norton Award Best Actress & Best Production, Henry VIII, Pericles, Living In Exile, Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Rancho Mirage, New Repertory Theatre; Cabaret, American Repertory Theatre-IRNE Award Best Ensemble; Film: The Equalizer 2, Chappaquiddick, Good Kids, Irrational Man, We Don’t Belong Here, The Judge, In Your Eyes, Against The Ropes; TV: “Bull”; “The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe”; “Olive Kitteridge”; “Chasing Life”, “The Makeover”, “Gilded Lilys” (pilot), “Army Wives”, “One Life To Live”; Canadian TV: “Blue Murder (Series Lead), “The Associates” (Series Lead); MFA American Repertory Theatre, www.tamarahickey.com

Cloteal Horne

Cloteal Horne

(Salarino) is pleased to be returning to S&Co for a third season: Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Off-Broadway: The Steadfast (Slant Theatre Project); Dirty Blood (Billie Holiday Theatre). Regional: Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Lyric Stage Company); She A Gem (New York Theatre Workshop); To Kill a Mockingbird (Weston Playhouse); more(Salarino) is pleased to be returning to S&Co for a third season: Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Off-Broadway: The Steadfast (Slant Theatre Project); Dirty Blood (Billie Holiday Theatre). Regional: Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Lyric Stage Company); She A Gem (New York Theatre Workshop); To Kill a Mockingbird (Weston Playhouse); A Funny Thing Happened… (BarnStormers); The Clothesline Muse (Aion Productions); Little Row Boat (Huntington Theatre); How We Got On (CompanyOne); Romeo & Juliet (New Rep); Othello (Actors' Shake. Project). Holds a BFA from BU. She sends endless love to Mama Cloteal, her Fairy Godparents, and the Roots in her Life.

Shahar Isaac

Shahar Isaac

(Bassanio) First season with S&Co. Regional: Bar Giora, Yael Farber's Salome (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Our Town (George Street Playhouse). International: Valentine, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare’s Globe, London). New York: Dancing Turtle (Winner of the Samuel French OOB Festival); The Djinns of Eidgah, Workshop (The Play Company). AlphaNYC: Oy!, Glee more(Bassanio) First season with S&Co. Regional: Bar Giora, Yael Farber's Salome (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Our Town (George Street Playhouse). International: Valentine, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare’s Globe, London). New York: Dancing Turtle (Winner of the Samuel French OOB Festival); The Djinns of Eidgah, Workshop (The Play Company). AlphaNYC: Oy!, Glee Club. Players Theatre: A Story Conference in Pilot Season, The More Things Change. Workshop Theatre Company: The Medicine Show (Workshop). Film: Price For Freedom. Television: Person of Interest, Deadly Sins. Training: Rutgers University, BFA in Acting; Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

Bella Merlin

Bella Merlin

(Nerissa) second season (The Queen and Arviragus, Cymbeline; Trinculo, The Tempest). S&Co: Nerissa (The Merchant of Venice); Outlaw (The Two Gentlemen of Verona). Regional: Margaret, Richard III; Nell, Nell Gwynne: A Dramatick Essaye on Acting and Prostitution. UK: Susanna Cibber, A Laughing Matter, 2nd Bereaved Mother, The Permanent Way (National more(Nerissa) second season (The Queen and Arviragus, Cymbeline; Trinculo, The Tempest). S&Co: Nerissa (The Merchant of Venice); Outlaw (The Two Gentlemen of Verona). Regional: Margaret, Richard III; Nell, Nell Gwynne: A Dramatick Essaye on Acting and Prostitution. UK: Susanna Cibber, A Laughing Matter, 2nd Bereaved Mother, The Permanent Way (National Theatre); UK Regional: Masha, The Seagull; Celia As You Like It. Film: Mente Revolver. TV: Doctors (BBC); Casualty (BBC). Publications: The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit; Facing the Fear: An Actor’s Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright. Training: Russian State University of Cinematography, Moscow. Bella holds a PhD from Birmingham University, UK, and is Professor of Acting and Directing at UC Riverside.

Dylan Wittrock

Dylan Wittrock

(Salerio) First season with S&Co. Dylan grew up performing Shakespeare with his father and brother, and has acted in more plays than he can remember. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, performed improv at the Chicago Theater, and busked streets of the Royal Mile at the Fringe Festival in more(Salerio) First season with S&Co. Dylan grew up performing Shakespeare with his father and brother, and has acted in more plays than he can remember. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, performed improv at the Chicago Theater, and busked streets of the Royal Mile at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Recent New York theater credits: Young Scrooge, A Christmas Carol (Titan Theater Company); Kent, Edward II (The Tank); Bill, A Long Goodbye by Tennessee Williams (The Williams Project at Theater Row); Idealism, Rough Draft (Improbable Stage at The Wild Project). Proud alumni of Atlantic Theater Company Acting School (Evening Conservatory, 2015-16).

Tina Packer

Tina Packer

(Director) Founding Member. (Founding Artistic Director; Director, Cymbeline; Actor, Women of Will). She has directed most of Shakespeare’s plays (some of them several times), acted in eight of them (never when directing) and taught the whole canon one way or another at over thirty colleges, including Harvard, M.I.T. and NYU. more(Director) Founding Member. (Founding Artistic Director; Director, Cymbeline; Actor, Women of Will). She has directed most of Shakespeare’s plays (some of them several times), acted in eight of them (never when directing) and taught the whole canon one way or another at over thirty colleges, including Harvard, M.I.T. and NYU. At Columbia University, she taught in the M.B.A. program for four years, resulting in the publication of Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership and Management with Deming Professor John Whitney for Simon and Schuster. For Scholastic, she wrote Tales from Shakespeare, a children’s book and recipient of the Parent’s Gold Medal Award. Most recently Tina’s book Women of Will was published by Knopf. For the last three years, she has been performing Women of Will with Nigel Gore, in New York, Mexico, England, The Hague, China and across the US. Her acting credits include: Shirley Valentine, Molly Ivins, The Beauty Queen of Leenane,Mother of the Maid; and most recently Volumnia in Coriolanus. She’s the recipient of numerous awards, honorary degrees, including the Commonwealth Award. This May, Salem State University honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts.

"The cast is superb. The production is extraordinary. The costumes by Tyler Kinney are pure magic."

– The Berkshire Edge

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Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.

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