Charles Askenaizer, Artistic Director of Invictus Theatre, today announced his cast for the company’s production of Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, which Askenaizer will direct. Shakespeare’s tale of the money lender who demands a pound of flesh as repayment for a defaulted loan will be performed on the Buena stage of the Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway. It will open to the press on Monday, October 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm, following previews from October 17-20 and will play Thursday-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm and Mondays at 7:30 pm (no performance Monday 11/4) through Sunday, November 17.
Askenaizer’s cast will include Joseph Beal (Shylock), Chuck Munro (Antonio), Martin Diaz-Valdes (Bassanio), Julia Badger (Portia), Glenn Thompson (Gratiano), Madeline Pell (Nerissa), Courtney Feiler (Jessica), Travis Shanahan (Lorenzo), Joshua Seeger (Tubal/Duke/Servant #1), Erik Schiller (Salanio/Salerio), Mitchell Spencer (Salarino), Jack Morsovillo (Launcelot/Prince of Aragon/Jailer), Brandon Boler (Prince of Morocco). Understudies are John Wilson (Shylock/Tubal/Duke/Antonio), Corrie Riedl (Portia/Nerissa/Jessica), Keenan Odenkirk (Bassanio/Gratiano), and Ted Dayton (Lorenzo/Salanio/Salerio/Salarino).
The production team will include Satoe Schechner (costume design), Kevin Rolfs (scenic and properties design), Stefanie M. Senior (sound design), Michael NJ Wright (lighting design), Kate McDuffie (stage manager), Lauren Grace Thompson (dialect coach), Shane Richlen (fight designer), Morgan Massaro (assistant director), Paulette Hicks (text coach), Michael Shapiro (dramaturg), and Ana Schedler (graphic design).
Askenaizer, who has previously directed the company’s OTHELLO, as well as THE TEMPEST and WHEN LOVE SPEAKS, O VILLAIN! for Invictus and Shakespeare in the Courts, says his concept for THE MERCHANT OF VENICE will shed new light on that classic story of revenge, justice, and mercy. The production will be set in 1938 Italy during the Racial Laws where Italian Jews were disenfranchised and discriminated against during the rise of European Fascism.
Charles Askenaizer (Director, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE) is the Artistic Director of Invictus Theatre Company. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Theatre and Communications. He has worked professionally in Chicago as an actor and director for 10 years. Recent Invictus directing credits include Shakespeare in the Courts’ THE TEMPEST, OTHELLO, WHEN LOVE SPEAKS, O VILLAIN!, and Shakespeare in the Courts’ ROMEO AND JULIET. Other directing credits include TITUS ANDRONICUS (Bare Knuckles Theater), JULIUS CAESAR (Brown Paper Box), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Reutan Collective), and THE DIFFERENCE (Piccolo Theater). Charles has worked with Citadel Theatre, the Artistic Home, City Lit, Raven, Brown Paper Box, and many more.
About Invictus Theatre Company:
At Invictus Theatre Company our mission is to create theatre that promotes a better understanding of language: its poetry, its rhythm, its resonance; through diverse works by diverse artists. We respect the power of heightened language: spoken, written, sung; to express the breadth of the human condition. We work to harness the power of language: to promote diversity, to engender respect, to foster collaboration; and to empower our communities to share their voices.
Invictus Theatre Company incorporated in January 2017 and received its 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status in February 2017. A diverse group of Chicago actors and directors founded Invictus with the vision to empower their communities through theatrical productions of heightened language. We are committed to the idea that our productions should reflect the communities we represent, and, to that end, we are committed to non-discriminatory hiring practices. In working with local artists, designers, and production teams, Invictus Theatre Company does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, nationality, citizenship, religion, or any other protected status by law.
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