“In ARIN ARBUS’s provocative production…JOHN DOUGLAS THOMPSON as Shylock, [is] perhaps the greatest Shakespeare interpreter in contemporary America.” - New York Times

“★★★★ JOHN DOUGLAS THOMPSON is Formidable and vulnerable…Fire in his performance and Haunted…A Penetrating New Production.” - Time Out


By William Shakespeare
Featuring John Douglas Thompson
Directed by Arin Arbus
Co-production with Shakespeare Theatre Company

Shakespeare’s perennially contested play about corrosive bigotry and blinding vengeance is poised at the radioactive intersection of race, class and religion in Arin Arbus’s production. As Ms. Arbus observes, “The Merchant of Venice depicts a divided society saturated with hate and inequity. The world boils with anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, classism, and homophobia.” John Douglas Thompson stars as Shylock in his fifth classical collaboration with Arbus. The show’s uniquely diverse company evoke a deeply stratified Venice. Its connections to our own grievously fractured world are vivid, stark and startling.


Isabel Arraiza, Varín Ayala, Shirine Babb, Jeff Biehl, Sanjit De Silva, Danaya Esperanza, Yonatan Gebeyehu, David Lee Huynh, Maurice Jones, Nate Miller, Alfredo Narciso, Haynes Thigpen, John Douglas Thompson, Graham Winton

Scenic Design by Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Design by Emily Rebholz
Lighting Design by Marcus Doshi
Original Music & Sound Design by Justin Ellington

Run time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, plus one 15-minute intermission.


  Open Caption Performance – Sunday, February 27, 2:00PM


Please click here to view the 360° Viewfinder for The Merchant of Venice.





Deloitte and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the 2021-2022 Season Sponsors.

Principal support for Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs is provided by The Hearst Foundations, JLGreene Arts Access Fund in the New York Community Trust, The SHS Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Thompson Family Foundation, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs are also made possible, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts; Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support for The Merchant of Venice is provided by The Howard Gilman Foundation Fund for Classic Drama.






This production of The Merchant of Venice is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.