OTHELLO, Shakespeare’s Infamous Tale of Obsession, Jealousy, and Betrayal, Comes to Cincinnati Shakespeare

OTHELLO marks the first of Shakespeare’s tragedies to be performed on Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s new stage at The Otto M. Budig Theater

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Nicholas Rose as Iago & William Oliver Watkins as Othello.

CINCINNATI, Feb. 8, 2018 – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues the Debut Season at The Otto M. Budig Theater with William Shakespeare’s Othello. The production will be directed by Christopher V. Williams, who also directed last season’s highly-praised A Raisin in the Sun at CSC, and will feature founding company member Nicholas Rose at Iago, as well as newcomer to CSC William Oliver Watkins as Othello, and CSC Resident Ensemble Member Courtney Lucien as Desdemona.  Othello is generously sponsored by Matson Money and Pete Strange Family.

Othello (William Oliver Watkins), a Moor, has won fame and glory for his many victories leading the Venetian army, but tensions spark when he elopes with the wealthy Desdemona (Courtney Lucien). Othello’s scheming underling, Iago (Nicholas Rose) is bitterly jealous of Othello’s successes and launches a series of plots and snares to bring ruin to Othello and Desdemona. Through whispers, innuendoes, and a deception involving a purloined handkerchief, Iago sets out to ruin Desdemona’s reputation and drive Othello to wild fits of jealousy.

“This is a play that speaks to a national conversation that we’re having right now about inequality and bias,” says Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips. “Othello is a classic work that deals with these very timely issues, and also explores the universal themes of insecurity, trust, and betrayal.” Director Christopher V. Edwards said of the staging of this production: “Though quite old, the play has a contemporary soul. Our Othello is set in a contemporary world – a Venice that is technologically and digitally capable, where war is the norm and not the exception. It is a nation with the responsibility of a superpower, where political and economic interests often outweigh ethical or moral concerns.”

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William Oliver Watkins as Othello & Courtney Lucien as Desdemona.

The production is part of an exciting collaboration between Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.  These neighboring local theaters are collaborating to present William Shakespeare’s “Othello” and Lola Chakrabarti’s “Red Velvet” simultaneously only blocks apart in OTR! Cincinnati audiences will have a rare opportunity to experience both Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of deception and betrayal and see Chakrabarti’s telling of the little-known but true story of Ira Aldridge, the first African-American actor to play Othello. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips will be directing “Red Velvet” and the cast will feature actors from Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Resident Ensemble. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see literature and history collide in this unique way on two of Cincinnati’s greatest stages in March!

Othello runs March 2-24 with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM, as well as Saturday March 24 at 2:00 PM.  Preview performances are February 28 and March 1 at 7:30 PM.  Red Velvet runs March 6- 31 at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.

On Sundays March 11 and 18, bring your younger kids (4+) for artist-led childcare DURING the performance! The “Playdate” program is only $15 and free for subscribers. The option to add this program will be available as you are buying tickets for either of these show dates. Activities will range from Shakespeare Storytime to theatre games and crafts. Share the great benefits of CSC’s programming with your children: Playdate will style activities to correspond with each production, so even your youngest can join in the discussion on the ride home!

The theater is now located at The Otto M. Budig Theater at 1195 Elm Street in OTR, adjacent to Washington Park. Single ticket prices range from $14-$52.  Student/Children and Preview tickets are only $28. If available that day, $14 student rush tickets may be purchased thirty minutes before a show with a valid student ID. This production is a part of this season’s subscription package. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees may apply.  Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups as well as AAA members. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at http://www.cincyshakes.com.

Valet Parking is now available for every performance! Make reservations for $10 in advance when purchasing tickets. Purchasing in advance guarantees a spot at the discounted rate of $10 (vs. $15-20+ at the curb).  Valet is available right at the corner of 12th and Elm Street in front of the theater and begins approx. 1.5 hours before a performance. Cars can be picked up for up to one hour following a performance. (After one hour, you will need to arrange pick up with the valet service directly.) The valet will have your name on the list after you purchase- it’s that easy!

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About Cincinnati Shakespeare Company:
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing Shakespeare and the classics to life for audiences of all ages.  In the summer of 2017, the theater relocated to the Otto M. Budig Theater, a brand new facility in OTR. CSC’s repertoire is made up of the works of William Shakespeare, literary adaptations, and contemporary classics.  CSC performs on a Small Professional Theatre contract with Actors’ Equity Association. Cincinnati Shakespeare is a member of the Theater Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theater Association.  Each year, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Education and Outreach Programs reach over 50,000 young people and underserved community members each season by taking Shakespeare into schools, parks, community centers and by hosting educational matinees of mainstage productions.  In 2015, CSC was proud to become one of the first five theaters in the United States to “Complete the Canon” by producing all 38 plays by William Shakespeare. CSC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is proud to be Cincinnati’s stage for the classics!

About The 2017-2018 Season:
This season is funded by ArtsWave and is generously sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.  Cincinnati Shakespeare

Company receives operating support from The Ohio Arts Council, the Shubert Foundation and is supported.  The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program/organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Production dates and information on the season are available online at www.cincyshakes.com.

The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company was one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States.

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