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About this performance

Four Shows | Polsky Theatre

7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26
8 p.m. Friday, March 27
8 p.m. Saturday, March 28
2 p.m. Sunday, March 29

Presented by Jewish Community Center/White Theatre and JCCC Performing Arts Series. Produced by Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Directed by Sidonie Garrett. This will be the first play produced indoors by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. The Merchant of Venice will star festival veterans Robert Gibby Brand as Antonio, the titular role, and Gary Neal Johnson as Shylock. Other members of the cast include familiar festival actors: Matthew Rapport, Jake Walker, Scott Cordes, Logan Black, Ben Auxier, Andy Perkins and Nathan Bovos. Debuting are: Darren Kennedy, Kendra Keller and Megan Herrera.

"I'm thrilled that Kansas City favorite Gary Neal Johnson will join the cast of The Merchant of Venice as Shylock. So many of us enjoy his work, and it will be an honor to have him perform in Polsky Theatre, along with the cast of other Kansas City actors we know and love." — Emily Behrmann, general manager, JCCC Performing Arts Series

Performances at Jewish Community Center, White Theatre, March 19, 21 and 22.

Passionate discourse on justice and mercy

The Jewish moneylender Shylock makes a loan to Antonio. Their loan contract, steeped in prejudice and centered on a “pound of flesh,” sweeps the two men and everyone in their worlds into chaos. Only the insightful Portia can imagine a way forward, but for her and those she loves, even “the quality of mercy” has its limits.

The production will offer a postshow TALKBACK with the director and actors to provide a forum for discussion and an opportunity for dialogue about the issues raised in the play. Players will also address questions specific to the production and history of Shakespeare, and provide information about the text.

    Arts Education

    Merchant of Venice
    Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

    March 26 | 9:30 a.m. | grades 6 and up

    This is a full length production. Running time is approximately 2.25 hours.

    The prejudices of the 16th century are ever present, but the stereotypes are frequently deepened. And thus, it is with The Merchant of Venice, which features Shylock, the usurious Jewish moneylender, as its villain.

    Shakespeare gives Shylock a rounded character that helps transcend the stereotype of the money-grubbing man seeking revenge. We invite you to journey with us to discover the high qualities of this production presented by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.

    For more information, email Angel Mercier, Arts Education program director, or call her at 913-469-8500, ext. 4221.