The play is on Broadway and at Vancouver's Bard on the Beach, and you'd think that by now someone would have taken the leap to a new and yet obvious level of interpretation. But no. So without further ado, and with no explanation necessary, here is a partial list of the ideal cast which should really speak for itself:
James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman - Shylock
Halle Berry - Jessica
Gwyneth Paltrow - Portia
Neil Patrick Harris - Bassanio
Brad Pitt - Antonio
Okay, maybe a little explanation. Shylock is the only major character who doesn't want to be someone or something else. Everyone else is trying to 'pass.' Bassanio and Antonio want each other, but have to pretend otherwise. Portia wants to be a man so she can be free to do what she wants (be a lawyer?), Jessica yearns to cast off the constraints of the Ghetto and step into the life Portia has (but would like to leave)and pass as a White Christian - not because of any spiritual 'epiphany' or even love. If there are any gutsy, imaginative directors out there please feel free to use this information and all I want is a footnote mention in the programme.