Classical Theatre Lab Presents The Merchant of Venice With Music: Something of Silver

The Classical Theatre Lab continues its ongoing partnership with the City of West Hollywood in once again presenting Free Shakespeare In The Park in the parks of West Hollywood. Tony Tanner adapts and directs Shakespeare’s comedy The Merchant of Venice as a musical, with Tanner contributing original songs and lyrics to a script that retains Shakespeare’s plot and most of his text while adding distinctly modern references and allusions. Musical direction is by David Kole. 

Antonio (the merchant), receives an interest-free loan from Shylock, a moneylender from Venice’s Jewish ghetto. The unusual bargain requires unusual collateral from Antonio, and when Antonio undergoes reversals in fortune elsewhere, Shylock demands a deadly reimbursement from Antonio, seeking revenge for Antonio’s prior anti-Semitic treatment of him. But this is also a romantic comedy (one of the lovers in the play being Shylock’s daughter), and part of the proceedings deal with how three couples will ultimately unite in wedlock after mates engage in playing romantic jests upon each other. Happy endings abound. One of the problems that modern audiences have had with Merchant of Venice is the anti-Semitism present in Shakespeare’s original but Tanner’s musical adaptation makes Shylock a more sympathetic character (he actually has a pretty strong case against Antonio), and Tanner’s treatment of Shylock is significantly gentler than Shakespeare’s.

Adapter-director Tony Tanner has been twice nominated for the Tony® Award, as director and choreographer of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. His other Broadway directing credits include Prince of Central Park, Gorey Stories, A Taste of Honey, and Something’s Afoot. Also an acclaimed actor, he starred in the motion picture of the musical Stop The World, I Want to Get Off.

The cast boasts terrific singers and includes Casey Ford Alexander, Tad Atkinson, Molly Cookson, Steven Good, Rachele Gueli, Michael Harrison, Amanda Ives, Bruce Katzman, Jean Kaufman, Henry Selvitelle, Rachel Sorteberg and Robert Towers. Costumes are by Deborah Bradford.

The show is family-friendly, although some of it may be over the head of very small children. Because it’s free, it presents an ideal opportunity to introduce youngsters to the particular pleasures of live theatre. Something of Silver is produced by Suzanne Hunt and Zeljka Gortinski and presented by the City of West Hollywood and The Classical Theatre Lab. The performance schedule is as follows:

July 14 – 29
Saturday and Sunday at 5pm
Great Hall Courtyard in Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

August 4 – 19
Saturday and Sunday at 4pm
Kings Road Park
1000 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Reservations suggested: Call (323) 960-5691 or email Running time of the show is approximately1 hour 30 minutes.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. kevin bahr
    Oct 17, 2013 @ 12:15:52

    david kole is great



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