Friday, March 15, 2013
ACT OUT OPENING: Othello at Chicago Shakespeare
A hip-hop adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello
written, directed and music by GQ and JQ
developed with Rick Boynton
Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
Through April 28, 2013
produced by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd
WINNER: Best Musical and Best Lyrics Awards Musical Theatre Awards at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012
“A triumph from beginning to end! It fizzed along with so much verve that the story of jealousy, friendship and betrayal was utterly engrossing.” –The Telegraph (London)
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s limited engagement of Othello: The Remix is scheduled to run through April 28, 2013, in the Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets are on sale now for $20–$35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
This fresh urban take on Shakespeare’s tragedy returns home for a limited engagement on the heels of an acclaimed world premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, and wildly successful tours to Germany and Edinburgh.
The CST-commissioned hip-hop adaptation of Othello is spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats by The Q Brothers—America’s leading re-interpreters of Shakespeare through hip-hop (Funk It Up About Nothin’, The Bomb-itty of Errors).
Whether you’re looking for a rockin’ night of rhythm and rhyme or a new way to think about Shakespeare, Othello: The Remix delivers an intense, high energy spin like no other.
Recommended for mature audiences (contains adult language)
Approximate Running Time: 90 min (includes intermission)
As part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad’s ‘Globe to Globe’ festival at Shakespeare’s Globe, Othello: The Remix received its world premiere as one of 37 companies from around the world presenting Shakespeare’s entire canon, each performed in a different language. It was the only production in the festival from North America and was greeted with critical acclaim and sold-out houses. The European tour continued to Germany’s Shakespeare Festival im Globe Neuss and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where the Musical Theatre Matters Awards honored the production with Best Musical and Best Lyrics Awards, and the Stage Awards for Acting Excellence nominated the company for Best Ensemble Award. High praise for the production included a five-star London review from The Telegraph, exclaiming “the show is a triumph from beginning to end,” and The Guardian hailing the production as “well-paced, sophisticated, and at times, very funny.”
The Q Brothers, GQ and JQ, are siblings born and raised in Chicago, who started their professional careers in the off Broadway hit, The Bomb-itty of Errors. Othello: The Remix, written and directed with music by the Q Brothers, is the first Shakespeare tragedy and second collaboration with CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton. Boynton was also involved in the creation of the Q Brothers’ award-winning CST commission, Funk It Up About Nothin’, which received critical acclaim in its world premiere at Chicago Shakespeare and subsequent international tour to New York, Australia and the UK. In addition to the Q Brothers, the cast of Othello: The Remix includes Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle and DJ Clayton Stamper. Othello: The Remix is produced by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.
Shakespeare's story of Othello...
Desdemona, a young aristocrat of Venice, has just eloped with Othello, a hired general in the Venetian army—and a Moor. Roderigo, lovesick for Desdemona, is assured by Iago that he, too, harbors hatred for the Moor, who has promoted Cassio over him as lieutenant. Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, seeks the full justice of Venetian law, but the Duke is concerned with pressing affairs of state: the Turks threaten Venetian interests in Cyprus, and the Moor’s service is required.
Othello prepares to embark for Cyprus with his new bride. Iago plots to make Othello believe that the young Venetian officer Cassio is Desdemona’s lover. Ensnaring Cassio in a drunken brawl, Iago looks on as Othello predictably dismisses his new lieutenant. Iago urges Cassio to seek Desdemona’s aid in recovering Othello’s favor, then suggests to Othello that his wife’s interest in Cassio’s misfortunes may signify her infidelity.
Demanding “ocular proof,” Othello is convinced when his first gift to Desdemona, a handkerchief, is misplaced and, with help from Iago’s wife Emilia, ends up in Cassio’s possession. For service to his general, Iago is appointed Othello’s new lieutenant. Stunned by her husband’s accusations, Desdemona pleads with Othello—first for his compassion, then for her life. As Emilia comes to understand her husband’s crimes, she is murdered for the truth she dares to speak. Tormented by remorse and grief, Othello takes his own life.
...is remixed into...
Against all odds, MC Othello escapes the ghetto by giving rhythm and voice to the stories of the people in his hood. As he rises to the top of the music industry, he is living proof of the “American dream.” Othello falls in love with Desdemona, a beautiful singer whose vocals add the final piece that catapults him to stardom.
They marry, despite her aristocratic father’s disapproval, and are sent by Loco Vito, the CEO of the record label, on a national tour. Other members of the crew include Cassio, a glitzy pop music rapper, and Iago, a hardcore underground lyricist and hip hop purist. Othello decides to release Cassio’s album next in an effort to reach a wider audience.
Angered by this decision, Iago vows to take Othello down. He enlists the help of Roderigo, the nerdy, socially awkward lighting designer on tour—and in love with Desdemona. With a promise to win him the heart of the one he loves, Iago steals Roderigo’s money and sells him on his plan to remove Cassio from the group. Meanwhile, Iago continues to plant seeds of jealousy in Othello about a fabricated affair between Desdemona and Cassio.
Further upset by Cassio’s bizarre behavior at an important album release event, Othello kicks him out of the group. Iago convinces Roderigo to kill Cassio. Roderigo bungles the murder attempt and Iago, worried that his plan will be uncovered, kills Roderigo himself. Othello, now on the brink of insanity, flies into a jealous rage and murders his love, Desdemona. Iago’s wife Emilia enters to find her friend dead, and reveals the truth of her husband’s evil plot. In the wake of this overpowering news, Othello takes his own life.
Click here to book your tickets and for behind the scenes sneak peeks, photos and more.
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare’s work has been recognized internationally with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare, unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students, and serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series.