(L to R) Eric Damon Smith as Bassanio and John William Watkins as Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice. Photo by Bob Goodfellow.
Riverside Theatre, Iowa City’s resident professional theatre company, will open its second Riverside Theatre in the Park production, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice on Friday, June 22. Kristin Horton directs.
For tickets and information, call the Riverside Theatre Box Office at (319) 338-7672.
One of Shakespeare's less frequently produced plays, The Merchant of Venice introduces characters rich in complexity, humor and, most of all, flaws. To help Bassanio win the heart of the wealthy heiress Portia, Venetian merchant Antonio borrows money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. Amid the blossoming love and comic pursuits of the heart, Shylock's loan goes unpaid and Antonio must suffer the consequences.
“At the heart of Merchant, what’s at stake and repeatedly put at risk throughout the play are the very things that unite and define us,” said Director Kristin Horton. “Promises and contracts concerning love, family, friendship as well as the commercial are put at risk and often to chance. The stakes couldn’t be higher - for the characters or for us, the audience, as we negotiate our own world that in many ways might not be so dissimilar.”
New York based director Kristin Horton directs. Horton is a recipient of fellowships and residencies from NEA/TCG, Sundance Theatre Lab and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Horton, who received her MFA at the University of Iowa, teaches at New York University.
Post-performance Talkbacks will be held immediately following all performances of The Merchant of Venice.
Several returning actors will appear in featured roles in The Merchant of Venice: Kelly Gibson (The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Ah, Wilderness!) as Portia, Kalen Harriman (Mary’s Wedding, Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Boom) as Nerissa, Jim Van Valen (A Steady Rain and Ah, Wilderness!) as Laauncelot Gobbo, and Tim Budd (Walking the Wire, The Cripple of Inishmaan) as Antonio. Theodore Swetz will appear as Shylock. Swetz is also director of the Riverside Theatre in the Park production of As You Like It. Horton, Swetz and Budd are all Riverside Theatre associate artists.
The production features costumes by Lindsay Davis, scenic design by Shawn Ketchum Johnson, lighting design by David Thayer, and music composition and design by Mark Bruckner.
Riverside Theatre in the Park also includes Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed by Theodore Swetz, which opened Friday, June 15. Following this weekend, As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice will be performed in rotation until July 8.
Riverside Theatre in the Park is performed outdoors at the Festival Stage in Iowa City’s Lower City Park every summer.
To make an evening at the park, audience members are invited to picnic before the show. Wraps, desserts, and beverages are available at the box office before the show and during intermission.
One hour before each main stage performance, patrons may gather at the Green Show Stage (located next to the pavilion) to brush up on the plot of that night’s play with original story theatre versions of the evening’s play performed by the Apprentice Company.
Directions to Lower City Park and information about parking can be found at www.riversidetheatre.org.
Single tickets for Riverside Theatre in the Park range from $17-$39 with discounts available for students, seniors, and youth.
A Summer Nights Pass is also available for those wishing to purchase tickets to both shows. Passes should be arranged through the Gilbert St. Box Office at 319-338-7672. At the Festival Stage, passes may be purchased up until 30 minutes before curtain.
Patrons are also invited to take advantage of Family Nights. On Family Nights, up to two adults accompanying a youth will receive their tickets at the $17 youth price. Remaining Family Night dates are June 24, 26, and July 3. Family nights are sponsored by funding from the Johnson County Community Foundation. Family Night performances begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets to Riverside Theatre in the Park can be ordered by calling the Riverside Theatre Box Office at 319-338-7672. The Riverside Theatre Box Office is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Single tickets may also be ordered online at www.riversidetheatre.org.