David Oyelowo has built a career of interesting choices. Whether he takes on historical roles like Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma” or the damaged Peter Snowden in “Nightingale,” the British-born actor never ceases to surprise. But Oyelowo has never forgotten his theater roots. Maybe that’s why this fall he is set to star in one of the oldest and most important plays starring a black man: Othello.
The New York Theater Workshop will present the classic play during its 2016-17 season, and Oyelowo will play the lead role. Daniel Craig of 007 franchise fame will also be on board playing Othello’s nemesis lago.
For those who don’t know the classic play penned by Shakespeare, the NYTW website offers a breakdown:
“Othello, a motivated and charismatic Moorish general in the Venetian army, and Desdemona, who is half his age and the only daughter of a highly esteemed family, have recently married and are very much in love. When he is appointed leader of a military operation, Othello promotes Cassio, a young and personable officer to help him command the forces.
However, Othello’s batman Iago, who was hoping for a promotion himself is bitterly disappointed at the decision. Fuelled by revenge and a racist mistrust of Othello Iago plots against both Othello and Cassio. As Othello’s most trusted confidante, Iago whispers suspicion to Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair, planting her handkerchief in Cassio’s quarters.
When Othello discovers the handkerchief, he is beset by rage and vows revenge, mistakenly believing that Desdemona has betrayed him. Spurred on by Iago, Othello embarks on a destructive course of action that inevitably ends in tragedy for all concerned.”
Oyelowo, who graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), was the first African-American to play the lead role in Henry VI at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also starred in the television adaptation of Raisin in the Sun also starring Phylicia Rashad, Audra MacDonald, and Sanaa Lathan.
Tickets will be on sale soon.