The Stratford Festival annnounced Tuesday that Brian Bedford has withdrawn from this season’s production of The Merchant of Venice, in which he was to play Shylock.
Bedford is suffering from a medical condition which, though treatable, requires immediate attention.
Artistic director Antoni Cimolino, who is directing the production, says Bedford made the decision with great reluctance.
Earlier this season, Bedford directed the well-received production of Blithe Spirit.
“It meant so much to me to have Brian as part of my first season as artistic director,” says Cimolino. “He is a friend and a mentor, as he has been to so many people at the Festival. I will be forever grateful to him for creating such an elegant production of Blithe Spirit, a show which is delighting audiences and will continue to do so all season long.
“We wish Brian a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to the Festival in the years ahead.”
Scott Wentworth will assume the role of Shylock in addition to playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Capulet in Romeo and Juliet.