After a week’s delay, “The Merchant of Venice” finally played its official opening performance on November 13 at Broadhurst Theatre. The star-studded limited engagement is booked for only 78 performances before closing January 9, 2011.
The critically acclaimed cast is led by Al Pacino as the moneylender Shylock and Lily Rabe as the heiress Portia. The production also features Byron Jennings as Antonio, David Harbour as Bassanio, Jesse L. Martin as Gratiano, Seth Numrich as Lorenzo, and Heather Lind as Jessica, among others.
The official press opening comes almost a week after the original November 7 opening date and celebration. Rabe was on personal leave for several days due to the illness and November 5 death of her mother, Jill Clayburgh. Though Rabe resumed her role on November 6, the press opening was pushed back to provide adequate readjustment time.
“Merchant” arrives on the Main Stem following a blow-out stint with Public Theater’s “Shakespeare in the Park” over the summer. The production retains most of its original cast and creative team in the transfer, including director Daniel Sullivan.
Previews for “Merchant” began October 19 at the Broadhurst. The 1,152-seat playhouse has been filled between 95 and 99 percent capacity each week since then. Regular ticket prices range from $66.50 up to $141.50, with premium seating options available for $251.50 up to $326.50. The show grossed $882,431 in the week ending November 7, for a combined three-week gross well over the $3 million mark, according to the Broadway League.
Evening performances are staged Tuesday through Thursday at 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are set for 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Due to the holidays, the production calendar goes dark for nearly a dozen usual playtimes, though several additional performances have been subbed in.
Broadhurst Theatre Is located at 235 West 44th Street in New York, NY. “The Merchant of Venice” runs three hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Additional details on scheduling and tickets can be found on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “The Merchant of Venice”
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“Mr. Sullivan, his cast and his design team have collectively shaped a ‘Merchant’ that feels utterly fluid and original.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“[Director] Daniel Sullivan…steers these leading actors, and the entire company, with such robust intelligence and grace.”|
|Hollywood Reporter||David Rooney||“Having previously impressed in more fragile, ethereal roles, [Lily Rabe’s] dynamic performance here is spellbinding.”|
|TheaterMania||Brian Scott Lipton||“[Al Pacino and Lily Rabe], decades apart in professional experience but nanoseconds apart in terms of craft and passion, simply redefine the words ‘pitch perfect.'”|
|The Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“…this version will sweep you along with such hell-bent momentum that you’ll forget there was an intermission.”|
|New York Post||Elisabeth Vincentelli||“You come to see Al Pacino, but you stay for Lily Rabe.”|