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A Conversation on Shakespeare’s Jews

On Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30 pm, actor F. Murray Abraham will participate in a conversation about Shakspeare’s Jewish characters on Emerson College’s Paramount Mainstage (559 Washington Street, in Boston’s Theatre District).

Hosted by ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage and the New Center for Arts and Culture, this event precedes ArtsEmerson’s presentation of The Merchant of Venice, in which Abraham will star as Shylock. Produced by Theatre for a New Audience, the play will run at the Cutler Majestic Theatre from March 29 to April 10, 2011.

Joining Abraham for the panel conversation on January 26 will be Theatre for a New Audience Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz and Shakespeare & Company Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer. Scholar, playwright, and A.R.T. Founding Artistic Director Robert Brustein will moderate the discussion, which will cover the perception of Jews in Shakespeare’s England; the many sides of Shylock (perhaps the most infamous and controversial Jewish character in literature); and the radical changes in the way he has been represented, from comic buffoon to villain to tragic hero. Abraham, who has appeared in numerous films and stage productions and received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Amadeus (1984), will also talk about his own portrayal of Shylock.

“We’re excited to partner with the New Center for Arts and Culture on this panel presentation. Students and the Boston community at large will have an opportunity to hear from some of the most prolific theater voices in our region and beyond,” said ArtsEmerson Executive Director Rob Orchard. “And of course we’re thrilled to welcome our special guest F. Murray Abraham, one of our most intelligent and talented theater artists.”

Abraham will be at Emerson from January 23 to 28 to teach master classes and hold forums on campus as the 2011 Waldman Chair in Theater Arts. The Waldman Chair in Theater Arts endowed professorship is funded by a gift from Honey Waldman ’46 and her sister, Gladys Waldman Brownstein. 

Ticket Information

The panel conversation will be followed by a reception with light refreshments. Tickets to the panel ONLY are $28/$15 for ArtsEmerson members. Tickets to both the panel and reception are $45/$30 for ArtsEmerson members. Tickets are on sale now at or by phone at 617-824-8000.

A limited number of FREE tickets are available for Emerson, BU Hillel, and Harvard Hillel students. On January 26, students can stop by the box office in person starting at 10:00 am; limit of one free ticket per student; first come, first served.

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