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  Play Details

Othello: The Remix

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

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.

Thru - Aug 4, 2013



Price: $18-$25

Show Type: Performance Art

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 1hr, 50mins

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  Othello: The Remix Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Chicago Shakespeare Theater clearly is hoping "Othello: The Remix" will have a long run. It should. The Qs have made Shakespearean rap their own powerful brand. Thursday night's show not only attracted an audience with an average age about half that of your typical theatrical crew, but was notable for the abundance of parents with teenagers in tow: a desperate attempt, perhaps, to make the case that the boring old Bard could be relevant. I rolled my eyes at that when I walked in (there was gritted teeth aplenty, on both sides of the generational divide) and then regretted the cynicism some minutes later, as "Othello" tracked elements of the original, certainly its major themes, with remarkable veracity and fluidity. It won over both the enthusiastic ticket buyers and those dragged there - no mean feat, that."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...To cut to the chase: "Othello: The Remix" - the 90-minute, lightening-fast, hip-hop version of Shakespeare's tragic tale of jealousy and self-doubt, is absolutely brilliant, and immense fun. The show, which wholly reimagines the original, is now in its U.S. debut at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Upstairs. Written, directed and musicalized by Chicago's Q Brothers (with help from Rick Boynton), it was devised for London's 2012 "Globe to Globe" Cultural Olympiad, and subsequently toured to Edinburgh and Germany. And while it has been "transferred" from Renaissance Venice to 21st century America, it turns out to be every bit as faithful to the play's core meaning and message as poor Desdemona was to Othello."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...This slick hip-hop-style reinterpretation of Othello dumbs down Shakespeare's verbal, psychological, and emotional complexity to adolescent levels, draining the drama from the classic tale of a jealous husband who murders his adoring wife."
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Albert Williams


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The Q Brothers’ words and rhythms are pulsing, intelligent, honest, infectious and intensely absorbing. You get so lost in this world and its extreme-though-believable characters. The joyous cheers with which the audience responds to the feisty and abundantly clever wordplay is probably rather akin to an Elizabethan audience’s response to Shakespeare’s own verbiage. The heartily enjoyable, sassy all-drag deluge, “It’s A Man’s World, But He Ain’t Nothin’ (Without A Woman or A Girl)” is particularly uproarious."
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Johnny Oleksinski


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Transposed from its original setting to the modern-day music industry, our story is now that of a successful recording manager gulled into homicidal despair by a jealous colleague. Assisted by Clayton Stamper's electric orchestra, Postell Pringle, Jackson Doran and the brothers Q trade off personae with protean ease-even donning drag for the roles of Bianca and Amelia, the latter of whom stops the show with a torchy rendition of "It's a Man's World." (Wisely, Desdemona is represented by only a vocal track and our imaginations.)"
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Though compressed and refreshed, both story and wordplay find rich parallels with the original text. The initially questionable decision to play Emilia and Bianca in broad drag pays off when Doran's doormat of an Emilia turns her fourth-act protofeminist monologue into a hilarious, Blu Cantrell-style R&B revenge ditty. Similarly, the choice to keep Desdemona heard but not seen yields chilling returns in a murder scene that silences the beats-including our hearts'."
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Kris Vire


ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...I strongly recommend seeing "Othello: The Remix". I would definitely say the younger generation would extremely enjoy this production. However, the older set in the audience found it enjoyable as well. "Othello: The Remix" has a unique spin on a classic Shakespeare production. Combined with the extreme writing and performance talent of the Q brothers, it becomes a brilliant contemporary interpretation of Othello. It is evident that the Q brothers have the support and talent of fellow cast members Postell Pringle, Jackson Doran, and DJ Clayton Stamper. This ensemble provides strength to this great production. I sincerely wish all of these young men continued success. I know that we will see many more great successful productions from all of them in the future."
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Russell Goeltenbodt


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...The Q Brothers' entry was instantly popular with crowds. Consider "Othello: The Remix" as one more example of rappers' abiding affection for the Bard. Lest anyone think that the reclamation of Shakespeare has stopped in America with Bernstein's "West Side Story" or DC Comics' Sandman: Dream Country, hip hop artists insist explicitly on this kinship. He was, like them, streetwise and a forger of contemporizing poetic tools and the rest is just semantics: "A rose by any other name, smell just as sweet.""
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Nancy Malitz


Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Nothing's lost in this deft translation. Othello stays serious where it should, notably as the inevitable catastrophe closes in: Even where it didn't before, it strikes true, as in a hilarious, driving rouser by the "women" about why men shouldn't rule the world. Happily and intentionally, the storyline stays too strong enough to succumb to the style. Indeed the insistent percussive dynamism of the script propels the unstoppable tragedy as much as any incidents. However long the run, this "remix" can never run long enough."
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Lawrence Bommer


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Assuming Othello: The Remix is showing a conscious effort on behalf of CST to extend themselves to younger audiences, it should succeed admirably. Just so long as “young people” avoid that reactionary cynicism so prevalent among our generation. Trust me. For all its glitzy good looks and hip-hop humor, Othello: The Remix has lost nothing in translation. And we too have nothing to lose by letting loose…"
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Anthony J. Mangini


Chicago Now - Highly Recommended

"...Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents OTHELLO: THE REMIX. Othello is a big time rapper. He meets and marries an aspiring singer, Desdemona. She becomes his muse and he becomes in even bigger celebrity. His homeboy Iago gets jealous. Then, when Othello promotes the up-and-comer Cassio as his new opening act. Iago gets ruthless. Iago decides to sabotage Othello's relationship and Cassio's career. He executes an intricate plan to make Othello believe Cassio is screwing Desdemona. OTHELLO: THE REMIX is rapped perfectly for an appealing package of a classic."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...How do we get our next generations to appreciate the works of William Shakespeare? In fact, how do we get some of our fellow theater-goers to even go to a Shakespeare comedy, let alone a tragedy. Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier has done a great deal to make this a reality. They have modernized their productions to give the audience a closer feel to the story! hey have started a "Short Shakespeare" program, for youngsters primarily, but they can be just as effective for adults ( young and old), and now they have found something that may be THE answer- RAP Shakespeare!"
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Alan Bresloff


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...At the Chicago Shakespeare Upstairs Theater the brothers have nailed the drama, renaming it “Othello: The Remix.” Their adaptation displays all the verbal wizardry of the earlier two shows without defiling Shakespeare’s original. Indeed, “Othello: The Remix” can be congratulated on capturing the essence of the Elizabethan classic without utilizing a sentence of the Bard’s script, substituting streetwise dialogue salted with contemporary references to Eddie Murphy, Dumbledore, and the like. The bottom line is that the show is superior rap and very good Shakespeare, not a playgoing package on offer every day."
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Dan Zeff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
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