HOLLYWOOD star Al Pacino is to play Shylock in a production of The Merchant of Venice in New Yorks Central Park next summer. The 69-year-old will join Public Theaters Shakespeare in the Park series for seven weeks from 9 June. It is the first time the Oscar-winner has returned to the New York stage for seven years. Pacino also portrayed Shylock in a 2004 film version of the play opposite Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes. BBC Artist director Oskar Eustis said the series will also include The Winters Tale, which will alternate in performance with The Merchant of Venice. However Pacino will not appear in both plays due to a scheduling conflict with rehearsals. It will be the stars first stage role in New York since a reading on Broadway of Salome in 2003. Shakespeare in the Park, which offers a portion of tickets free of charge, is often a magnet for stars and featured Oscar-nominated Anne Hathaway in Twelfth Night during its past season. Other stars that have graced the open-air Delacorte Theater include Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Patrick Stewart and Kevin Kline. BBC