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Shakespeare Forum to Stage MERCHANT OF VENICE, 5/22-6/14

Shakespeare Forum to Stage MERCHANT OF VENICE, 5/22-6/14

The Shakespeare Forum follows up its acclaimed production of Love's Labours Lost last summer with its take on THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Co-directed by Andrew Borthwick-Leslie and Sybille Bruun, previews begin May 22 at The Gym at Judson with opening night set for Thursday, May 29.

In THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Antonio, the titular merchant, borrows money from Shylock to help a friend woo a wealthy maiden. Antonio secures the loan with a pound of his own flesh as collateral. Will true love win out or will Shylock come, knife in hand, to claim his pound of flesh?

"THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is a play about class, appearances, preconceptions and facades," notes co-director Andrew Borthwick-Leslie. "In Venice, much like in New York City, people struggle daily to keep up their images, to steel themselves to meet the financial and social demands of urban society while their true desires languish unattended. Our production will focus on what is unspoken, the void created between characters trying to conceal their humanity in order to maintain expectations." Co-director Sybille Brun adds," In this play, as in life, misconceptions, prejudice and intolerance are born out of the characters' inability to speak the truth in their hearts and face the possibility that maybe no human is meant to face the world in isolation."

The production stars Dominic Comperatore (Tony Award winning A View From the Bridge on Broadway), Joseph J. Menino (9 seasons at Jean Cocteau Rep), Francis Mateo (Shakespeare in the Park's Mother Courage), Hannah Goalstone (Ode to Joy written/directed by Craig Lucas), John Smiley, Zach Libresco, Imani Jade Powers, Sarah Hankins, Lash Dooley, Michael Moreno, Bill Coyne and Gabriel Lawrence with set and lighting by Marie Yokoyama and costumes by Brittany Merola.

Founded in 2009, New York's critically acclaimed The Shakespeare Forum was created to inspire artists and non-artists alike to find their creative voices through theatre and the works of Shakespeare by offering free or low-cost classes, workshops, and performances. The organization provides open workshops every Tuesday for people to work, watch others work, network, and learn about Shakespearean stagecraft. Past productions include Hamlet (directed by Sybille Bruun), A Midsummer Night's Dream (directed by Tyler Moss) and Love's Labour's Lost (co-directed by Andrew Borthwick-Leslie and Sybille Bruun).

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE runs May 22 - June 14, Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30pm with added performances May 27 & June 8 at 7:30pm. Please note that May 23 is at 7pm and that there are no performances June 6, 7, or 13. The Gym at Judson is located at 243 Thompson Street at Washington Square South, accessible from the A,C,E,B,D,F to West 4th or N,R to 8th Street. Tickets are $18 available at 212-352-3101 or www.theshakespeareforum.org.

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