The Merchant of Venice – Employee Discount

Join Shylock, Antonio, Portia, and a host of characters (including Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham) for the latest in our Shakespeare series. And if you aren’t prepared to pay your pound of flesh for tickets, faculty and staff can purchase tickets for just $10 on March 2.


The Bard is back again on February 27-March 13 as the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts opens up its doors to Theatre for a New Audience’s production of The Merchant of Venice.

Directed by Darko Tresnjak, this celebrated production takes a modern look at the age-old interplay between love and money, and religion and race. Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham, who’s starred in such films as Amadeus, All the President’s Men, and Scarface, reprises his role as Shylock in this compelling work that the New York Times has called “powerfully moving” and The Guardian gave four stars.

While the cost of tickets ranges from $40 to $75 for the general public, Pace faculty and staff can receive discounted tickets for only $10 for the March 2 performance. To book tickets and for more information on pricing, click here.

To stay up-to-date on all our Shakespeare productions and get a video sneak peek of Comedy of Errors coming to Pace in April, visit our Shakespeare at Pace website!

More than Fun and Plays

Just who is this Falstaff cad, and what makes him think he can woo two wealthy ladies? As the Shakespeare at Pace Festival moves full steam ahead, wrapping up a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor and rolling out Merchant of Venice in February, Pace introduces several educational components to open audience’s eyes to the Bard’s many nuances.

Merry Wives

Earlier this month, Pace Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies Martha Driver, PhD, gave the centerpiece lecture on The Merry Wives of Windsor, delving into some of the historical figures who may have helped shape Shakespeare’s famous fool, Falstaff. In this column, this expert in medieval and early Tudor texts, who has published numerous articles on the history of publishing and whose books include The Medieval Hero on Screen and Shakespeare and the Middle Ages (edited with Pace Professor and Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department Sid Ray) shares her insight as well as what she thinks will be some of the highlights of the festival.

What do you think makes the Shakespeare at Pace Festival unique?

It is thrilling to see live Shakespeare in almost any context—from Theater in the Park to Theater in the Parking Lot! Pace is bringing live productions downtown. The Festival is picking up on an earlier Pace tradition of live theater. I am thinking here of the wonderful productions of Tony Randall’s theater company, especially of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and the classical play The Persians, both performed at the Schimmel Theater.

This is the second time the Globe has returned to Pace, and hopefully the first of an annual Shakespeare festival designed to make Pace “the downtown place” for Shakespeare. What do you think this festival means for the community and Pace’s academic reputation?

Did you see the New York Times review of the Globe production of Love’s Labour’s Lost at Pace last year? It was a rave! These continuing excellent productions will establish the reputation of the Shakespeare series and also of Pace University as a place where such plays are taught, studied, performed, and loved. [Note: To read reviews of The Merry Wives of Windsor, click here and here.]

For those who missed it, what was the theme of your centerpiece lecture?

The talk focuses on Falstaff and explores some of the medieval underpinnings of his character, including the Vice character in early medieval drama, as well as two historical figures who may have helped to shape Shakespeare’s comic creation. The lecture will then turn to discussion of Falstaff in America and early production history, ending with an analysis of one specific scene of Merry Wives, the culmination of the action at Herne’s oak, again drawn in part from earlier medieval sources.

What is the one message you hope people have taken away from your lecture and the performance?

From the lecture, that Shakespeare was influenced by medieval romance traditions, along with English folklore, in his creation particularly of Falstaff while also making something quite new– a rogue hero who has been popular with audiences from the Elizabethans to modern moviegoers down to the present day. From the performance, the joyfulness of Shakespeare’s comic timing and wit!

The Globe performance is the only one of the four performances that is staged in a traditional manner; the other three are using more modern settings. What do you think are some of the pros and cons to this modern approach?

We saw Patrick Stewart in Macbeth at BAM in modern dress fairly recently (relentless and dark), which was entirely effective, and Richard Burton’s Hamlet in street clothes remains one of the best productions of that play on record. Almereyda’s Hamlet is also very good, set in modern New York. Costume, sets, lighting, all are very important but must reflect the director’s vision; if that is consistent, the rest follows.

Other than Merry Wives, what performance are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to all four performances and intend to take students to see them. I have seen F. Murray Abraham’s Shylock in Merchant of Venice once before and would love to see it again and compare it with the Al Pacino production currently on Broadway.

Next on her plate, Professor Driver will be publishing an essay on Shakespeare’s Pericles and another regarding medieval manuscript illumination. She’s also writing about early Tudor texts and their illustration, working with Pace colleague Eugene Richie on a translation project that will be discussed at a conference in Spain, editing the Journal of the Early Book Society (which will be published by Pace University Press in fall 2011), organizing a conference with colleagues at the University of York, and reading screenplays and trying to finish another book in her spare time!

The Bard Is Back

This fall, Pace becomes a downtown destination for all things Shakespeare with four productions at the Schimmel.

Merry Wives
Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

This fall will kick off an exciting season of Shakespeare at Pace, featuring four performances at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts from world-renowned theatre companies. First in the lineup: Romeo and Juliet, by Tony Award winning The Acting Company runs from October 22 to October 24. Then, Shakespeare’s Globe of London returns to Pace to perform The Merry Wives of Windsor October 28 to November 7. Theatre for a New Audience puts on The Merchant of Venice February 27 to March 13, starring Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, and The Acting Company rounds out the season with Comedy of Errors April 5 to April 17.

Why Shakespeare and why Pace? According to David Watson, director of cultural events for Pace, this new fall lineup is a natural extension of the relationship that Pace has already built with Shakespeare’s Globe of London. “When Pace announced the Globe was coming back, we had the idea to build a season around it,” says Watson. Although he originally envisioned only one additional show, when renowned companies The Acting Company and Theatre for a New Audience both approached Pace looking for space to rehearse, the idea of a fully fledged festival began to take shape.

“In its current form, this could become an annual experience,” says Watson, who has hopes of the event also taking a stronger international focus, showcasing Shakespeare productions from around the globe. “Rather than one British and two American companies, it would be fun to add a show each year from another country,” says Watson, who cites a Russian production of Richard III, a South African production of Macbeth, and a Chinese production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream as just a few of the great international productions on his radar.

The festival is also the culmination of one Pace professor’s dream. Watson notes that Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Performing Arts Department, Christopher Thomas, who recently passed away, had once designed a Globe set for the Schimmel in order to give students a feel for what it would be like to experience performances on the historic stage. “The original vision for the theater was that the Schimmel would be a place for Shakespeare,” says Watson. Even the Bard might agree that after this season, “thy worldly task hast done.”

Learn more about the festival and purchase your tickets today.

More than Fun and Plays

In addition to the four plays, there are a number of unique learning opportunities built around the productions.

  • Each show will include a Talkback Session—a free event where audiences can stay and speak to cast members and artistic contributors.
  • All shows (with the exception of Romeo and Juliet) will also include “Centerpiece Lectures,” given by experts in the field such as Pace Distinguished Professor Martha Driver, PhD, (Merry Wives of Windsor) that delve into certain aspects of the play and production.
  • Pace performing arts students will be offered master classes taught by members of the cast.
  • Pace will also be hosting the Globe’s “Executive Education” for Shakespeare educators—the first program of its kind on the East Coast, which introduces 12 competitively selected high school instructors and their students to an 18-month educational program taking place on the Pace campus with summer sessions in London.

To learn more, visit: http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/globeeducation