Merchant began previews Oct. 19 and was originally scheduled to open Nov. 7. The Public delayed the press opening after actress Lily Rabe missed performances due to the failing health of her mother, Academy Award-nominated actress Jill Clayburgh, who died Nov. 5.
The Broadway company, which reunites members of the Shakespeare in the Park run and new cast members, celebrated their Broadway engagement Nov. 7; however, members of the press were not invited to review the production until Rabe’s return. She resumed performances Nov. 6.
Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan (Proof) directs Merchant of Venice, which will play a limited 78-performance engagement through Jan. 9, 2011. The Public Theater, Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel produce the Broadway outing.
In addition to Pacino and Rabe, also returning from the Shakespeare in the Park run are Jesse L. Martin (Rent) as Gratiano, Byron Jennings (Inherit the Wind) as Antonio, Heather Lind as Jessica, Gerry Bamman (Mrs. Farnsworth) as the Duke of Venice, Matthew Rauch (Still Life) as Solanio and Richard Topol (Awake and Sing!) as Tubal.
New for the Broadway engagement are Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (Finian’s Rainbow, Wicked) as Launcelot Gobbo, Marsha Stephanie Blake (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) as Nerissa, David Harbour (The Coast of Utopia) as Bassanio, Peter Francis James (On Golden Pond) as Salerio, Isaiah Johnson as Prince of Morocco, Charles Kimbrough (Accent on Youth) as Prince of Arragon and Seth Numrich (On the Levee) as Lorenzo.
Returning ensemble members include Happy Anderson, Liza J. Bennett, Bryce Gill, Jade Hawk, Bethany Heinrich, Tia James, Kelsey Kurz, Brian Macdonald and Dorien Makhloghi. The Broadway run also includes new ensemble members Glenn Fleshler, Luke Forbes, Herb Foster, Thomas M. Hammond, Curt Hostetter, Dorien Makhloghi, Kim Martin-Cotten and Baylen Thomas.
The Broadway run of Merchant reunites the Shakespeare in the Park creative team, including Mark Wendland (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Kenneth Posner (lighting design) and Acme Sound Partners (sound design). Dan Moses Schreier penned original music for Merchant of Venice.