Buy Tickets From the 2014-2015 Season: The Merchant of Venice Playing May 01, 2015 to May 24, 2015

A Suzi Bass Awards Recommended Show

Doug Kaye as Shylock, Amee Vyas as Portia

A lost fortune, a lover's choice and one of the most powerful expressions of "the quality of mercy" in literature: meet Portia, Bassanio and Shylock, the Jewish moneylender and one of Shakespeare’s most controversial characters of all time. A suspenseful comedy with a tragic core that has intrigued audiences for centuries. Does the expression of mercy come through in the characters’ actions?

Join the cast and crew members for a lively Question and Answer session on Sunday May 10 after the show! 

Read the Plot Synopsis

Synopsis for The Merchant of Venice
-from The Pocket Companion to Shakespeare’s Plays by J.C. Trewin

Bassanio, needing money to woo Portia, heiress of Belmont, asks his friend Antonio, a Venetian merchant, for 3,000 ducats. Having no money by him and with all his ships at sea, Antonio goes to a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who hates him for his loathing of usury. Shylock proposes what he calls a “merry bond” by which, if the money is not repaid within three months, he may take a pound of Antonio’s flesh; foolishly Antonio agrees.

Portia, at Belmont receives the Prince of Morocco, come to make his choice under the will of Portia’s father. All suitors must choose from three caskets (gold, silver and lead) the one that contains her portrait; those who fail can never contemplate marriage again. Morocco fails with the golden casket, and the Prince of Arragon with the silver. Meanwhile, Bassanio and his friend Gratiano are on their way to Belmont; and Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, in the disguise of a boy, has eloped with Lorenzo, taking rings and ducats with her.

Shylock is furious about his losses. But Bassanio, choosing the correct (leaden) casket, prepares to wed Portia; her gentlewoman Nerissa and Gratiano also plan to marry. Then Salerio, Lorenzo and Jessica bring news that Shylock is demanding his due and that Antonio’s ships have “all miscarried”. There must be a trial; Portia arranges to be present at the court as a young lawyer (Balthasar), Nerissa as “his” clerk. There, admitting that the bond is flawless, she begs mercy from Shylock, who refuses and rejects all offers of money. He is about to take his pound of flesh when Portia turns on him. She warns him that according to the bond, he is not entitled to “one jot of blood”. Baffled, he will take his 3,000 ducats – only to be told that as an alien who has conspired against a Venetian’s life, his own life is forfeit. However he is pardoned and allowed half his fortune on the pledge that he will become a Christian and bequeath the money to Lorenzo and Jessica at his death.

When he has left the court the play is practically over except for the tranquil coda (it is used often to be cut) in the moonlight at Belmont, some comedy with rings, and the tidings that Antonio’s ships are safely come to port.

Director's Notes

Directed by Laura Cole

Show Information


Act One 70 min / Act Two 70 min

Show Roles

May 1-24, 2015
Duke of Venice - Matt Nitchie
Portia, a rich heiress of Belmont - Amee Vyas*
Nerissa, her gentlewoman - Kirstin Calvert
Prince of Morocco, suitor to Portia - Matt Nitchie
Prince of Arragon, suitor to Portia - Matt Felten
Antonio, a merchant of Venice - Sam R. Ross*
Bassanio, his friend, suitor to Portia - Ralph del Rosario
Solanio, friend to Antonio and Bassanio - Vinnie Mascola
Salerino, friend to Antonio and Bassanio - Dani Herd
Gratiano, friend to Antonio and Bassanio - Doug Graham
Lorenzo, in love with Jessica - Garrett Gray
Shylock, a moneylender and a Jew - Doug Kaye*
Tubal, a Jew, his friend - Matt Nitchie
Jessica, daughter to Shylock - Amanda Lindsey
Jailers - Matt Felten, Garrett Gray
Henchman - Vinnie Mascola
Launcelot Gobbo, Shylock’s servant - Matt Felten
Old Gobbo, his father - Matt Nitchie
Portia’s Lady-in-Waiting - Dani Herd
Musician - Matt Nitchie
Ensemble - Adam King

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Show Times
Shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 6:30pm

Bardometer Rating

How difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?

You may already know the story and what happens at the end. But even if you don’t, the play is light and the plot is easy to follow. Limited violence, limited bawdiness (see below). There are very few things – historical, religious, or political – that you need to know ahead of time. Just enjoy!

A note about bawdiness in Shakespeare: It exists. Despite what your English teacher taught you, Shakespeare wrote some pretty saucy lines and they pop up from time to time. While there is never any nudity on stage, our actors are trained to make the text clear. If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry (or is very bloody/violent/triggering) we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show. It won’t happen often. If this Bardometer lists a play as a 1 or 2, you can rest assured that it is an appropriate show for kids under ten.

Additional Information