Some Canal Winchester High School students will risk a pound of flesh when they do business with a Venetian moneylender, but they will act their way out of trouble during the CWHS Performing Arts Department's 27th annual madrigal dinner.

William Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" will be presented at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19, in the high school cafetorium, 300 Washington St. Tickets to the Saturday show and catered five-course meal cost $15 per person. The Sunday luncheon costs $10 per person.

Tickets can be reserved by calling director Todd Phillips at 614-836-1448.

The well-known tale centers on the quest for love and the extent those stricken with it are willing to go to in order to gain it, according to Phillips.

He said he is very proud of the madrigal dinner's "long-running tradition" that allows more than 100 students to share the "great works of William Shakespeare and the music of the era."

"For all of our performing arts students, it's another opportunity to be in front of the public and work on their craft such as singing and acting and dancing," Phillips said.

The play and the period are not things that many students are familiar with, so the annual madrigal dinner provides them with an opportunity to "find a much deeper understanding of one of the greatest authors in English theater."

"Presenting the way we do, our students come to realize how wonderful these stories are, how vivid the characters are and how real the situations are," Phillips said. "They understand why his works are still performed all over the planet - and he has been dead for 400 years."

While not all audiences are familiar with the works of Shakespeare, Phillips said the annual madrigal dinner provides parents with an opportunity to enjoy dinner while watching their children perform in an exceptional show.

"Every year, our parents rave about seeing their children take artistic risks and chances," Phillips said.

"Certainly, it's just a wonderful evening's entertainment and a professionally catered five-course meal is a great way to spend a date night," he added.

Funds raised from this year's performance will help the Performing Arts Department upgrade the theater lighting system at the Oley Speaks Auditorium at the Education Center.

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