Wednesday, April 17, 2013

‘Othello: The Remix’ Will Keep On Bringing That Dope Shakespeare Rap - UPDATE - WORD OF MOUTH * QUALITY SELLS!

I don't even know what else to say at this point. Check out the rad Chi mag article here regarding the play's extension which JQ predicted to me a year ago anyway. It's kind of like getting back to the Super Bowl. Your happy just getting there once, much less winning. But now it seems we're back at the Super Bowl. Lightning struck again. I especially love the guy interviewed here, the forced seriousness as opossed to surface tension of comedic slants. I loved that. Hip Hop is Jazz and it's blues, it's not rock and roll. It was organic, the assumption Othello, the remix would score big with audiences. Their first tragedy, rapping is the blues, at it's core, core, the message.

I'm pissed the Lex-Vegas rock star Amanda palmer did not go to attend when she was there in Scotland while it ran. We tweeted and tweeted. Look, I love you + your success but you were never bullied, but whatever it takes, your helping kids, read here.

IN fact the witch spells and curses concoted at your 4000 Square Foot mansion directed towards freedom fighters such as myself might be construed as the very definition of terrorism. Now maybe I'm peeved, you missed a great show in Scotland. One tweet fans out to millions of your disciples, bigger point is you would've dug it.

Our theatre teacher in high school, his name was mr. Bogart, this is true, this is lex-Vegas after all we're talking about. He saw the film via the the "Space" filmed at the globe. The penultimate triumph talking theatres for theatre. The Wrigley excuse me, Fenway park of theatre, a shrine more than a venue. Rich in European history. Listen closely ghosts of past will listen in your ear. Mr. Bogart loved it.

What's important is the art. What's important is doing what you love. What's important is making a great piece of theatre. And what's hip hop is they bring their crew always and forever along for the ride. And the crew packs crazy skills deftly on display all day. Bars and brunches and re-caps remain the best stuff.

So Mr. Paradise what have we learned today?

Never forgot your progress every little inch moves closer to your goal that way you'll never start over truth be told be mindful of your progerss, and chip, chip away, time demands so much from us these days

Mr. Collins, Rosenthal & Collins scored his first multi million dollar year well after he turned 40 in his march toawrds a 1/4 billion. And there are no short cuts. The Q brothers are a brand. A household name in Chicago like the Boston kitchens I intro'd the lad to 17 years back. The point is the run's been amazing. And continues. And will always. It's important to always follow your heart. Trite and cliche? Simplfied and stupid? Perhaps. But what do i give a fuck? The brain can be quite the pickle. Knowledge and wisdom learn to seperate those, and when, why to apply, and strong you will grow, harping on the words of this GDD Yoda like flow. Here's the article. Please note I'll be in Chicago carrying this gorrilla April 26th - 29th.

Chicago Mag

Since its debut last summer at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Othello: The Remix has been trotting around the world (to Germany, then Scotland). In mid-March, it finally arrived back at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, where the show was developed.

The hip-hop remake of Othello (the one about the Moor who does a world of hurt to the people he loves thanks to the scheming of his underling Iago) is the third time the talented Q Brothers—Gregory and Jeffrey Qaiyum, also known as GQ and JQ—have done a commercially produced “add-rap-tation” (their term) of a work by the dopest MC of the Elizabethan Age. The Bomb-itty of Errors came first in 1998; Funk It Up About Nothin’ followed, to great acclaim again, in 2008.

At the fun party after the press opening, Criss Henderson, the theatre’s executive director, mused about whether this show would find its audience here. The biggest challenge, he said, was that people who love Shakespeare won’t want to see a hip-hop version of anything the bard wrote, and the crowd who follows hip-hop won’t be interested in having it applied to Shakespeare. (I thought the big problem attracting the non-gray-hairs to the show would be Navy Pier’s remote location and its annoyingly expensive parking lot.)

But then, glowing reviews rolled in—the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones called it their “best yet” and the Sun-Times’s Hedy Weiss proclaimed it “brilliant.” A hit was born! On Wednesday, CST announced that the show would extend seven weeks through June 15. Henderson’s not wrong to be circumspect—hip-hop Shakespeare, let’s face it, does occupy the tiny sliver between two overlapping circles in a Venn diagram that itself is a speck in the entertainment universe. It also sounds like something extremely nerdy high-schoolers would do. His wondering about whether Othello: The Remix would make the jump from ultraniche theatre to traction with a wider audience may owe to the fact that Q Brothers’ 2008 show, also produced by CST, got great reviews but didn’t sell out or extend.

So what went right this time? Henderson, who gamely chatted with me over the phone on Wednesday, the day CST announced its extension, has some theories:

1) It’s a great show, and quality sells.

This is true: The show is worth seeing simply to witness the enormity of the creative undertaking here. The Q Brothers do not lamely put Shakespearean language to a beat. They use the original play as a structural foundation, then write all new words and compose DJ-assisted tracks to animate them. It helps immensely that they—with two other talented actor-rappers, Postell Pringle and Jackson Doran—act and dance well, are hilarious, and somehow pull off this show without looking foolish or making the audience feel like parents at a rave.

Henderson notes that the show does a nice job on the dramaturgical front, too. “Taking on a tragedy was good idea—it helps the show to have to deal with seriousness,” he says. “You can delve into depth of character, as opposed to the surface tension of the comedies. There’s also a social relevance—Othello is still a pretty timely play.”

2) It’s cheap.

The lowest price ticket, $20, is available (online at to anyone under 35. No gimmicks, except that you may buy only two tickets per production. Actually, this offer is good for any show at the CST.

3) Word of mouth really works.

According to Henderson, people who have never seen a show at CST account for more than half of the Othello tickets sold so far. His sense from eyeballing these audiences is that the show is attracting “hipsters” (he himself cringed at the term even though he used it) who have come for a bona fide cultural event as opposed to an obligatory-feeling night at the theatre.

He chalks this up, somewhat, to CST’s shrewd move of first presenting the show overseas as a festival piece—short engagements to foreign theatre lovers, who, I’m guessing, must have eaten up the audacious American-ness of the whole thing. That early buzz translated into three solid weeks of pre-show coverage from the local media when Othello returned to its artistic home.

“It takes about five to six weeks. That’s when word of mouth really starts to work for you,” Henderson says. “Chicago is a word-of-mouth town.”

Through June 15 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.,, 312-595-5600. $20 to $35

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