American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Hume Cronyn Prepares for Role

Program for Stratford Festival of Canada production of The Merchant of Venice
Zoë Dominic, photographer.
Hume Cronyn
(1911-2003) as Shylock
Program for Stratford Festival of Canada production of The Merchant of Venice, 1976
Papers of Hume Cronyn/Jessica Tandy
Manuscript Division
Courtesy of the Stratford Festival of Canada (8)

Since the first professionally acted American production of The Merchant of Venice in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1752, the central role of Shylock has attracted distinguished actors, including Hume Cronyn. Canadian-born Cronyn was well known for his painstaking preparations for a part. In this memo to Bill Glassco (1935-2004), who directed him in the role, Cronyn asks questions about Shylock's essential nature in order to create his portrayal. His performance won the praise of critics, one of whom said: "The sheer, unflagging energy of Mr. Cronyn's performance gave his Shylock a powerful reality."

Hume Cronyn to Bill Glassco, December 18, 1975
Hume Cronyn to Bill Glassco, December 18, 1975
Typescript memo
Papers of Hume Cronyn/Jessica Tandy
Manuscript Division
Courtesy of Susan Cooper Cronyn (9)

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