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Feb. 19, 2012
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:

Office: 724.738.4854

Cell: 724.991.8302


SRU presents ‘The Merchant of Venice’


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University theatre will present an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” set against the backdrop of prejudice against Jews during Mussolini’s rise to power in Italy before World War II. The production opens March 1 and will be presented six times through March 7 in SRU’s Miller Auditorium.
            “It’s been said that the Holocaust has forever changed our perception of this play. Our production looks at that idea head-on,” said David Skeele, SRU associate professor of theatre and director.
             Shakespeare’s original play, written between 1596 and 1598, is largely seen as anti-Semitic, especially in regards to the negative portrayal of the Jewish character Shylock. The SRU adaptation conveys the persecution of Jews in the 1930s as a build up to World War II.
“This show is perfect for a college campus because it sends the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions through comedy, tragedy, romance and prejudice,” said Danielle DePalma, a theatre major from Pittsburgh.
            This cast includes Ethan Rochow, a theater major from West Middlesex, as Antonio; Nick Benninger, a theatre major from Slippery Rock, as Shylock; Jess Kowach, a theatre major from Hopewell, as Portia; Malic Williams, a theatre major from Aliquippa, as Bassanio; Dequan Rose, a criminal justice major from the Bronx, N.Y., as Launcelot Gobbo; Antoine Myers, a communication major from Aliquippa, as Old Gobbo/Prince of Morocco; Ben Zeiger, a undeclared major from New Castle as Gratiano; Meg Rodgers, an education major from Bruin, as Nerissa; Nick Kreiser, a theatre major from Slippery Rock, as Solario; Garret Dunn, a dance major from Clarendon, as Solanio; Carina Iannarelli, a psychology major from McDonald, as Jessica;  Anthony Plumberg, a business major from Denver, Pa., as Lorenzo; Dejah Abraham, a theatre major from Bethlehem, as Tubal; Jimmy Valentino, a mathematics education major from Ellwood City, as
Prince of Arragon/Gaoler; Matthew Stock from Slippery Rock, as Duke of Venice; Ian Lark, a history major from Valencia, as the servant/blackshirt; Jon Luther David, an English major from Mercer, as the Accordion Player; Liz Schaming, a theatre major from Pittsburgh, as servant/street Jew/Belinda; and Dominic Skeele and Madison Morrice as the Jewish boy and Catholic girl. Dominic is the son of David Skeele and Nora Ambrosio, professor of dance; Madison Morrice is the daughter or Rebecca Morrice, assistant professor of theatre.

Gordon Phetteplace, SRU associate professor of theatre, is the set designer; Kelly Myers, a Slippery Rock University graduate, is the guest costume designer for this show.

            Samantha Kuchta, a theatre major from Burrell, is the assistant stage manager; Zachary Durler, a communication major from Cranberry, is the lighting designer; Charlene Jacka, a theatre major from Oakmont, is the sound designer; Ashley Clement, a theatre major, is the props mistress; Aniela Schaefer, a theatre major from Greensburg, is the dramaturge; Ashley Orsino, a theatre major from Philadelphia, handles public relations and Michael Boone, SRU technical director, is the technical director.
            The production opens at 7:30 p.m. March 1 and will be presented at 7:30 p.m. March 2, 4, 5-7. There is a 2 p.m. matinee performance March 4. There is no Saturday performance.
            Tickets are $7 for students and $12 for general admission and can be purchased at the University Union Help Desk or Miller Auditorium Box Office, at 724.738.2645.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.