HACKETTSTOWN — The ever-popular reading series at Centenary Stage Company, Great Authors Out Loud, is coming to a close for the season with William Shakespeare’s most complex play, "The Merchant of Venice."
Randal Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso once again lead a cast of actors in this free staged reading event on Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m. in The Kutz Black Box Theatre allowing the audience to learn more about one of the most controversial works in theatre history.
Shakespeare's unforgettable tale of mercy, justice, generosity and greed. After years of persecution for his religious faith, Shylock finally gets his chance for revenge. The merchant Antonio cannot pay his debt, and Shylock demands his due: a pound of flesh. To save Antonio's life, the resourceful Portia must triumph in the courtroom — but at what cost? The Merchant of Venice weaves together humor and pathos in a spellbinding, suspenseful drama that Shakespeare categorized as a comedy.
Together with Charles Bright, theatre luminaries Kim and Occhiogrosso founded the classical American Players Theatre (APT) in Spring Green, Wis. in 1981, and have worked together for 35 years. Winner of the OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence, Kim began his early career with the legendary Joe Papp and the New York Public Theatre’s Shakespeare Festival, and continued to perform leading roles at some of America’s finest regional theatres. He has been seen on Broadway in "Flower Drum Song," "Golden Child" and "The King And I," but perhaps is most recognized as The Keymaker in the film "Matrix Reloaded," and the voice of Oogway in the DreamWorks’ animated film "Kung Fu Panda." Mr. Kim’s TV and film work includes the BBC "Special Prisoner in Time," "Anna and the King," "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Ninja Assassin" and more.
Director Occhiogrosso has received national recognition for her work with APT. She is an acclaimed director, dramaturge, acting coach and actor, whose primary focus has been classical theatre with a special emphasis on the works of William Shakespeare. She has also taught at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and the New York Shakespeare Festival and currently works with Classical Productions, Inc. where she coaches individuals in audition preparation, character development and script analysis for film, television and theater.
The Great Authors Out Loud Series, sponsored by Fulton Bank, will be held in the Kutz Black Box Theatre in The Lackland Center at 715 Grand Avenue in Hackettstown, N.J. Admission is free, but reservations are requested. Patrons interested in attending should make reservations by calling the CSC box office at 908-979-0900 or visit centenarystageco.org. The presentation will be followed by a lively discussion with the audience and artists.