The Delacorte Theatre
August 11, 197 - August 29, 1976
Duke Vincentio (Sam Waterston), weary of ruling over an immoral city, goes away and leaves
Vienna under the control of pious Angelo (John Cazale), who he know will enforce the laws. Claudio is
arrested for impregnating his fiancé Julietta before marriage, and Angelo sentences
him to death to set an example. Claudio’s sister Isabella (Meryl Streep) , who is about to take her
vows as a nun, pleads with Angelo for leniency, but he is overtaken by lust and
agrees to revoke her brother’s sentence only if she will sleep with him.
Cast & Characters
John Cazale (Angelo), Meryl Streep (Isabella), David Haskell (Claudio), Jeffrey Tambor (Elbow),
Michael Tucker (Froth), Sam Waterston (Vincentio), Judith Light (Francisca), Jay O. Sanders (Barnardine), Howard E.
Rollins Jr. (Pompey), Lenny Baker (Lucio), Steven Gilborn (Friar Thomas), Walt Gorney (Abhorson), Ruby Holbrook (Mistress
Overdone), Caroline McWilliams (Mariana), Robin Mary Paris (Juliet), Ron Randell (Escalus), John Seitz (Provost), Mark
Simon (Justice), Bever-leigh Banfield, Katherine Braun, Ann Bronston, Frances Conroy, Jake Dengel, Gabriel Gribetz,
Cheryl Tafathale Jones, Jolly King, Michael Kolba, Marilyn McIntyre, Joseph Regalbuto, Nathaniel Robinson, William
Sadler, Harlan Schneider, Tony Simotes
The Village Voice, August 23, 1976
Meryl Streep, having made the most difficult choice available in interpreting the character, backtracks
from it only once - in her deadpan scene with the Duke, which does not seem to grow out of her
outbursts at Claudio. For the rest, I think few actresses could present chaste, cold intelligence
as fully, and still convey to the audience their natural warmth. She is the real thing, and if
there were nothing else in the production, none of Cazale's creeping or Lenny Baker's pelvic
outrageousness, if there none of Santo Loquasto's witty, wide-armed sets, with Giotto demons above
and modern sterility below, "Measure for Measure" would still be worth seeing for this Isabella.
Time Magazine, August 23, 1976
Meryl Streep slowly overcomes a role she was not meant for - Isabella, the hysterical novice who is asked to sell her virtue to Angelo to save her brother’s life. Lenny Baker is hilarious as Lucio, advocating lechery in the accents of Will Rogers. Director John Pasquin keeps the play moving, even through those last toyings with fate and shotgun marriages whereby the playwright pastes a sickly grin on this mask of tragedy and squa lor. Measure for Measure was Shakespeare’s poison-pen letter to the world. Its view of man, once regarded as intolerably bleak, now seems distressingly up-to-date.