The Merchant of Venice annouces full cast

The Public Theater has announced complete casting today for Daniel Sullivan’s The Merchant of Venice, opening performing at the Broadhurst Theatre for 78 performances only, from 19 Oct 2010 through to 9 Jan 2011. Opening night is set for 7 Nov 2010.

Lily Rabe (Portia), Byron Jennings (Antonio), Jesse L. Martin (Gratiano), Gerry Bamman (Duke of Venice), Heather Lind (Jessica), Matthew Rauch (Solanio), and Richard Topol (Tubal) join the previously announced Al Pacino (Shylock) in reprising their roles from the Shakespeare in the Park production, which played from 12 Jun - 1 Aug 2010 at Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

New cast members joining the company include Marsha Stephanie Blake (Nerissa), Christopher Fitzgerald (Launcelot Gobbo), David Harbour (Bassanio), Peter Francis James (Salerio), Isaiah Johnson (Prince of Morocco), Charles Kimbrough (Prince of Arragon) and Seth Numrich (Lorenzo).

The company will also feature Happy Anderson, Liza J. Bennett, Glenn Fleshler, Luke Forbes, Herb Foster, Bryce Gill, Thomas M. Hammond, Jade Hawk, Bethany Heinrich, Curt Hostetter, Tia James, Kelsey Kurz, Brian Macdonald, Dorien Makhloghi, Kim Martin-Cotten and Baylen Thomas.

The design team for The Merchant of Venice will feature scenic design by Mark Wendland, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

The show opened at the Delacorte to some excellent reviews: "A marvelous new production. This is a Merchant for the age of Wall Street bubble boomers, a haunting indictment of a money-drunk society." (Ben Brantley, New York Times); "Not only is this the best Merchant of Venice I’ve ever reviewed, but it’s one of the finest Shakespeare productions I’ve ever seen, period." (Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal) and "Daniel Sullivan’s smart, sober and thrillingly acted production has a passionate leading man in Al Pacino.” (Davie Cote, NY1).

The story of The Merchant of Venice centres on 'Portia,' a young heriress, who finds herself in a life or death confrontation in a climactic courtroom trial with 'Shylock,' a jewish money-lender.

The Public will transfer The Merchant of Venice to Broadway with co-producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel who are also partnering with The Public on the current Broadway transfer of 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.' Richards and Frankel partnered with The Public on the Tony Award-winning revival of 'Hair' on Broadway, London’s West End and the upcoming national tour of 'Hair' beginning in October in Washington, DC.

Bios: Lily Rabe (Portia). Her Broadway credits include 'The American Plan,' 'Heartbreak House,' and 'Steel Magnolias.' Her off-Broadway and regional credits include 'Crimes of the Heart,' 'Colder Than Here,' 'Proof' and 'The Crazy Girl.' Her film credits include the upcoming "All Good Things" (December 2010) as well as "Letters from the Big Man," "Weakness," "Aftermath," "What Just Happened," "The Toe Tactic," "No Reservations," "A Crime," "Mona Lisa Smile" and "Never Again." Her TV credits include “Last of the Ninth,” “Saving Grace,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Medium” and all three “Law & Order” series.

Gerry Bamman (Duke of Venice). His recent works include 'Nixon' in 'Nixon's Nixon' (Obie), 'The Glass Cage,' 'Bartleby the Scrivener,' 'Encounter at Vallodilid,' 'Lowell Limpet,' 'Shakespeare,' 'Moses,' 'Joe Papp' and 'Mrs. Farnsworth.' His film credits include "Runaway Jury," "Two Family House," "Passion of Mind," "Home Alone 1 and 2," "Lorenzo's Oil," "Secret of My Success," "Bodyguard," "True Believer" and "Pink Cadillac."

Marsha Stephanie Blake (Nerissa) last appeared on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of 'Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.' Her other New York theater appearances include 'The Crucible' on Broadway, 'What Once We Felt' at The Duke, 'This Beautiful City' at The Vineyard, 'Queens Boulevard' at Signature, 'The Gentleman Dancing-Master' and 'The Master Builder' at The Pearl, 'Aunt Dan and Lemon' at The New Group and 'Twelfth Nigh't (2002) at Shakespeare in the Park.

Christopher Fitzgerald (Launcelot Gobbo) earned a Tony Nomination for his performance in the recent Broadway revival of 'Finian’s Rainbow.' He has also appeared on Broadway in the original casts of 'Young Frankenstein' (Tony nomination), 'Wicked,' and 'Amour.' His off-Broadway credits include 'Gutenberg! The Musical!,' 'Observe the Sons of Ulster…,' 'Saturday Night,' 'Fully Committed,' 'Corpus Christi' and 'The Cripple of Inishmaan.'

David Harbour (Bassanio) played 'Laertes' in the 2008 Shakespeare in the Park production of 'Hamlet.' His additional theater credits include the Broadway productions of 'The Coast of Utopia,' 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,' 'The Invention of Love' and 'The Rainmaker.' His off-Broadway credits include 'Between Us,' 'The Two Noble Kinsmen,' 'A Bad Friend,' 'Fifth of July,' 'Stranger' and 'The Time of the Cuckoo.'

Peter Francis James (Salerio). His Broadway credits include 'On Golden Pond' and 'Judgment at Nuremberg.' He won Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards for his performance as 'Colin Powell' in Daniel Sullivan’s production of 'Stuff Happens' at The Public Theater. His numerous New York stage credits include 'Much Ado About Nothing,' 'Venus,' 'Hamlet,' 'Cymbeline,' 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night,' 'Antigone' and 'Julius Caesar' at The Public Theater.

Byron Jennings (Antonio). His Broadway credits include 'Inherit the Wind,' 'Noises Off,' 'Is He Dead?,' 'Macbeth,' 'Accent on Youth,' 'Heartbreak House,' 'A Touch of the Poet,' 'Twelve Angry Men,' 'The Man Who Came To Dinner,' 'A Month in the Country,' 'Henry IV,' 'Dinner At Eight,' 'The Invention of Love,' 'Carousel' and 'Sight Unseen.' His credits for The Public Theater include 'Stuff Happens,' 'The Merchant of Venice,' 'On The Open Road' and 'Pericles.'

Isaiah Johnson (Prince of Morocco) has starred in numerous regional productions, including 'Once on This Island,' 'Big River,' 'Gutter Beautiful,' 'Topdog/Underdog,' 'Petite Rouge,' 'Blues Journey' and 'Ragtime.'

Charles Kimbrough (Prince of Arragon) was most recently seen on Broadway in Daniel Sullivan’s production of 'Accent on Youth.' He earned a Tony nomination for his performance in Stephen Sondheim’s 'Company.' His other Broadway appearances have included 'Sunday in the Park With George,' 'Hay Fever,' 'One Night Stand,' 'The Water Engine/Mr. Happiness,' 'Boy Meets Girl,' 'Secret Service,' 'The Rules of the Game,' 'Love for Love,' 'Candide' and 'Cop-Out.' He received Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance as "Jim Dial" on TV’s “Murphy Brown.”

Heather Lind (Jessica) made her Public Theater debut this summer in 'The Merchant of Venice.' Her regional credits include Williamstown Theatre Festival (Fellowship Company, Free Theatre, Greylock Project), and Capital Repertory Theatre (Metamorphoses.) Her TV credits include “Guiding Light,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

Jesse L. Martin (Gratiano). His Broadway credits include 'Rent,' 'Timon of Athens' and 'The Inspector General.' His other theater credits include 'I Ain’t Yo Uncle,' 'The Arabian Nights,' 'The Butcher’s Daughter,' 'Romeo & Juliet' and 'Two Gentlemen of Verona.' His film credits include "Rent," "Peter and Vandy," "Cake Eaters," "Season of Youth" and "The Restaurant." His TV credits include nine years on “Law & Order;” “The Philanthropist;” “The X-Files;” “Ally McBeal;” “413 Hope Street;” “New York Undercover” and "Deep In My Heart."

Seth Numrich (Lorenzo) was most recently seen in the LCT3 production of 'On the Levee.' His additional theater credits include 'Iphigenia 2.0' at Signature, 'History Boys' at the Ahmanson, 'Measure for Measure' for Chautauqua Theater Co., 'Summer and Smoke' at the Guthrie, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at The History Theater and 'The Diary of Anne Frank' at the Park Square Theater.

Matthew Rauch (Solanio). His New York credits include Roundabout, MCC, New Group, Signature, Red Bull, and more. His regional credits include Williamstown, Long Wharf, Arena, Shakespeare Theatre, Hartford Stage, many others. His film credits include "Stags," "The Absence," "Breaking Point," "No Reservations" and "Invitation to a Suicide." His screenwriter credits (with Brad Shelton) include "Between Two Waves," "Fever" (films) and his television credits include "House of Cards," "Dr. Bob" and "In Between Days." Richard Topol (Tubal). His Broadway credits include 'Awake and Sing!,' 'Cymbeline,' 'The Country Girl,' 'Julius Caesar' (w/ Denzel Washington) and 'School for Scandal.' His off-Broadway credits include 'When The Rain Stops Falling' (LCT), 'Hamlet' (TFANA), 'Mouth to Mouth' (New Group), 'Opus' (Primary Stages), 'Twelfth Night,' 'The African Company...' (Public); also Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep. His film and television credits include "Mickey Blue Eyes," "Party Girl," all “Law & Orders,” “Damages,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Rescue Me,” “Ghost Whisperer,” and “Ed.”