Monday, November 15, 2010

Merchant of Venice Reviews

On Saturday night, the Broadway revival of The Merchant of Venice officially opened for the press and the reviews are in.  In case anyone couldn't predict, Al Pacino has gotten rave reviews and is likely to get a Tony nomination for this performance.  The revival itself also received strong reviews, being cited as both simple and complex at the same time -- a notable feat to pull off.  Lily Rabe's Portia also was highly praised as among the strongest Portia's in recent memory -- no strong feat given her co-star, Mr. Pacino.  I think the strongest likelihood for Tony nominations for this production come from Mr. Pacino's leading performance and probably Ms. Rabe's, though her chances will largely be determined by whether the producers of the show will try and put her in the leading or supporting actress category.  The show also has a decent chance at a Best Play Revival nomination, though other productions could push it out of the category.  Christopher Fitzgerald and David Harbour received some good notices, but they did not get enough press for me to be certain they will be nominated and, besides, their roles may not be large enough to merit Tony level praise, so I will be keeping my mind out on their behalf, but will not be putting much stock in their chances.  The production also has a shot in some of the design categories.  Kenneth Posner, the lighting designer, has, for example, been nominated for 5 previous Tony Awards, including for Wicked and Hairspray, and winning for Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, leading me to think that he may be due for another nomination here.  Jess Goldstein also has a long history with period pieces (and Shakespeare), having designed Broadway productions of Henry IV, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals.  Given her Tony nomination for Henry IV and her win for The Rivals, I think a nomination here is not out of the question.

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