is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Merchant of Venice's Adam Luckey on Shylock

Last year, Adam Luckey and Bob Singleton teamed up as the dramatic dynamic duo of SummerFest's Jekyll & Hyde.  

This year, they're back surrounded by yet another talented cast for The Merchant of Venice, directed by Ave Lawyer, who has brought the story to the Arboretum stage with an updated look, using modern day technology.

Luckey explains how this version is different from others of Shakespeare's classic work.  "This is set in the present day. I think what makes this play a little different from a traditional staging of Merchant of Venice is that we are using video clips, live camera work, cell phones, and the like. Other than that, the universal story of love, mercy, and justice is as traditional as it can be. People still love, hate, mistrust, deceive, entrap, win, lose, ache for acceptance, fear for their lives and well-being, and all the rest in 2010 just as they did when Merchant of Venice was first performed around 1605."

Adam plays Shylock, who is "the Jewish moneylender who provides Antonio with a loan of 3000 ducats, with the stipulation that if he doesn’t pay back the loan within three months, Shylock can cut a pound of his flesh from his body. After Antonio forfeits on the loan, hijinx ensue."

Luckey wanted to audition for this particular role because, "Shylock is a complex and problematic character and I wanted the challenge to explore who he was and create my own version of him onstage. Strangely enough, I found that the characters of Hamlet and Macbeth were relatively easy for me to decipher. Shylock is a tougher nut to crack. "

"I like the fact that, although Shylock has endured and suffered all of the prejudice and bigotry in Venice, he has still created a successful business and relatively stable home life in this hostile environment. It speaks to his perseverance. I can respect that."

"As for what I dislike, I don’t really think about what Adam the actor dislikes about any character, Shylock included. In this case, I don’t think about that stuff since Shylock wouldn’t think about things that he dislikes about himself. Everything he does has a purpose and is justified, at least to him." Adam points out that he has the utmost admiration for Merchant director Ave Lawyer, "having played Septimus Hodge in Ave’s 2008 production of Arcadia at AGL. Top notch, all around."

Does Adam have a secret talent?  Although I was remiss in not asking him (my apologies to all for that because it's proving to be a popular tourist trap here in KimmyVille), I will say that Luckey's an incredible singer - and I hear he plays a dozen musical instruments, which I fully believe.  He brought down the DAC house as he performed Sinatra songs in AGL's My Way several years ago, where he sang and danced his way through hundreds of pages of music.

He did it his way, and it was fantastic! 


SummerFest continues a 29-year tradition of outdoor summer theatre at The Arboretum: State Botanical Garden in Lexington, KY. This year's season includes:

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Ave Lawyer

PRIDE & PREJUDICE (July 14-18)
adapted by Jon Jory
Directed by Sullivan Canaday White

RENT, THE MUSICAL (July 21-25)
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Directed & Choreographed by Tracey Bonner
Music Direction by Mark Calkins


The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare will open 2010’s SummerFest on July 7 and play through July 11, 2010. Ave Lawyer (recently seen directing On The Verge’s productions of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes and Another Part of the Forest) will make her SummerFest debut directing one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing tales of love, greed and revenge. Audiences can look forward to a unique and timeless interpretation of this classic that hasn’t been produced in Lexington for over 20 years.

The Merchant of Venice Cast Includes:

Shylock - Adam Luckey
Portia - Lisa Thomas
Antonio - Carmen Geraci
Bassanio - Bob Singleton
Gratiano - Evan Bergman
Salarino - Ryan Briggs
Lorenzo - Tanner Gray
Jessica - Joe Elswick
Nerissa - Rosanna Hurt
Launcelot - Patrick Davis
Duke - Jack McIntyre
Aragon - Jeff Sherr
The Prince of Morocco/Stephano - Whit Whitaker
Salerio - Nick Swartz

Sullivan Canaday White (2008’s The Lord of the Flies) returns to SummerFest to direct a critically praised adaptation of one of the most beloved novels of our time, Pride And Prejudice. The adaptation is written by Jon Jory, well known in Kentucky as the celebrated, former, longtime Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Pride And Prejudice will play July 14 through July 18, 2010.

Pride And Prejudice Cast Includes:

Mrs. Bennet - Trish Clark

Mr. Bennet - Walter Tunis
Elizabeth Bennet - Ellie Clark
Jane Bennet - Holly Brady
Mary Bennet - Annie Barbera
Kitty Bennet- Erin Cutler
Lydia Barret/Georgiana - Avery Wigglesworth
Mr. Darcy - Tom Phillips
Charlotte - Sarah Levy
William Lucas/Mr. Collins/Mr. Gardner -Tim Hull
Miss Bingley/Mrs. Gardiner - Vanessa Becker
Lady Catherine - Stephanie Peniston
George Wickham - Drew Davidson


SummerFest concludes with the show that transformed the definition of musical theatre, rocked a generation and changed Broadway forever, Jonathan Larson’s blockbuster musical, RENT, playing July 21 though July 25, 2010.

Tracey Bonner, no stranger to the Lexington musical theatre scene, makes her SummerFest directing debut with this Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning musical.

RENT Cast Includes:

Mimi Márquez -Jessica Lucas
Roger Davis - John Dawson
Mark Cohen - Chip Becker
Maureen Johnson - Caroline Griffeth
Angel Dumott Schunard - Emanuel Williams
Tom Collins - Nick Vannoy
Joanne Jefferson - Sheronda Piersall
Benjamin 'Benny' Coffin III - Thomas Gibbs
Seasons Of Love Soloist - Andrea Johnson

The Ensemble Includes:
Casey Mather
Justin Norris
Sarah Matthews
Brandon Smith
Cate Poole
Beth Kovarik
Wood Van Meter
Katie Berger
Nick Covault


All SummerFest 2010 performances will begin nightly at 8:45 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, at the Arboretum: State Botanical Garden of Kentucky on Alumni Drive. SummerFest tickets will go on sale in June 2010 and will once again feature very affordable single ticket prices of $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Season Passes to see all three shows will also be available at $25 for adults and $12 for kids.

For more information on SummerFest, or the Conservatory programming, please visit them the web at

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