the Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice was conceived for and minted in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice in 2016 on the 500th anniversary of its founding.


Originally produced in the Venice Ghetto in partnership with Ca' Foscari University of Venice and the Creative Europe Project "Shakespeare In and Beyond the Ghetto."  Mille graze to Shaul Bassi, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Beit Venezia, Maria Ida Biggi, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Carol Rutter, David Kastan; filmmakers Ted Hardin and Elizabeth Coffman; and the entire company of extraordinary actors and crew who together breathed the production into its first life.  We honor you all.


After the performance in the Venice Ghetto, the production traveled to Castello degli Ezzelini in Bassano del Grappa, Italy and to the high security Padova Prison for men in Padova, Italy.


Our third and fourth productions 

June 19-23, 2018   

The International Festival of Arts&Ideas

Courtyard of the Yale Law School

127 Wall Street

New Haven, CT

June 26-28, 2018     


Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth

Hanover, NH


Sandro Isaack -  Antonio

Sorab Wadia -  Graziano/Shylock #1

Linda Powell -  Portia

Sofia Jean Gomez -  Nerissa

Karim Sulayman -  Salanio

Titus Tompkins -  Bassanio

Paul-Robert Pryce -  Salarino

Michelle Uranowitz -  Jessica

Paul Spera -  Lorenzo

Frank Rodriguez -  Arragon/Shylock #2

Francesca Sarah Toich - Lancillotto

Trazana Beverley - Duke/Shylock #3

John Rothman - Tubal/Shylock # 5

Michael Rogers - Morocco/Shylock #4

Dietrice Bolden - Balzarina


Frank London (A&I, Yale)- trumpet, MD

Joshua Camp - piano/ accordion, AMD

Nikole Stoica - violin

Alexandra Stoica - violin

Kaitlyn Raitz (A&I, Yale) - cello

Aaron Alexander (A&I, Yale) - drums/rhythm

Brian Shankar Adler (Dartmouth) - drums/rhythm

Eva Boodman (Dartmouth) - trumpet

Jane Scarpantoni (Dartmouth) - cello

Cailtin O'Rourke - PSM

The second production occurred at Peak Performances at Montclair State University,
September 19 - October 1, 2017.

Ms. Coonrod’s attempt to solve the problem of Shylock by multiplication is surprisingly effective. When I read about her “Merchant” — first staged last year in Venice’s ancient Jewish ghetto (with a mock trial conducted after one performance by Ruth Bader Ginsburg) — it sounded gimmicky. But this experimental director has a knack for transforming high concepts into accessible theater. 

Ben Brantley, September 25, 2017, NY Times

Shakespeare Uncovered: The Merchant of Venice” with F. Murray Abraham produced by PBS, includes a conversation with Karin Coonrod and scenes from the Venice production.

Peak Performances Cast

Reginald Cathey, Antonio
Sorab Wadia, Graziano/Shylock #1
Frank Rodriguez, Arragon/Shylock #2
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Duke/Shylock #3
Michael Rogers, Morocco/Shylock #4
Ned Eisenberg, Tubal/Shylock # 5
Linda Powell, Portia
Abigail Killeen, Nerissa
Karim Sulayman, Salanio
Paul Pryce, Salarino
Bassanio, tbd
Michelle Uranowitz, Jessica

Paul Spera, Lorenzo

Francesca Sarah Toich, Lancillotto

Dietrice Bolden, Balzarina




Venice international Cast

alphabetical order


Andrea Brugnera

Ned Eisenberg

Monica Garavello

Ziv Gidron

Michelle Guidi

Adriano Iurissevich

Jenny Lea Jones

Emeline Mele

Matthieu Pastore

Elena Pellone

Hunter Perske

Emanuele Piavone

Linda Powell  

Alessandra Quattrini

Francesca Sarah Toich

Michelle Uranowitz

Stephano Scherini

Paul Spera

Sorab Wadia

Enrico Zagni


Music by Frank London (Grammy Award, member of Klezmatics)

Set & Lights by Peter Ksander (Obie Award)

Costumes by Stefano Nicolao (Oscar nominated)

Dramaturgy by Walter Valeri

Voice and Text by Gigi Buffington

Projections and Sound by Andrea Santini

Graphics by John Conklin

Directed by Karin Coonrod


Production Website:

Venice Photographer:  Andrea Messana

Peak Performances Photographer:  Marina Levitskaya with
permission from Peak Performances at Montclair State University