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Othello (New York Theatre Workshop)

From 36 critic and 113 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Ambitious

About the show

Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo ('Selma') stars in the title role opposite Daniel Craig's Iago in Shakespeare’s tragedy, directed by Tony winner Sam Gold. More…

An intense and intimate mounting of Shakespeare's famous play about a Moorish general who elopes with the daughter of a Venetian Senator, then falls prey to a vicious plot hatched by the man he trusts most. Performed in modern-day dress and set in a military barracks. Note: Tickets for this production are pretty much sold out. 

The New York Times

"Oyelowo and Craig enter the ranks of first-rate classical stage actors. I’ve never seen an 'Othello' as convincingly inexorable as this one...What’s so thrilling about this 'Othello' is that everything that occurs is so irrevocably inevitable...It’s a no-exit theater of war, invisibly stage-managed by a military underling with an instinct for human frailties...This incandescent production makes it possible for us to speak with rare understanding of this Othello—and this Iago—as they are." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Sam Gold's tremendously exciting, sensationally well-acted modern-dress production...Both actors are fighting fit in roles they seem born to play, the subtlety as well as the terrifying intensity of their work magnified by the startling intimacy of watching them up close...The brilliant match of this production's Othello and Iago is fortified by the entire ensemble's muscular performance style and vigorous grasp of the language...This visceral production is not to be missed." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"There’s no place to hide in Sam Gold’s mesmerizing production of 'Othello'…The thrill of Gold’s unconventional production lies in its theatrical rawness, providing a platform for the astonishing performances of the two leading actors…Craig morphs from a clever court jester into a merciless killer. It’s a cunning, charismatic performance. Equally charismatic is David Oyelowo…Rarely have I seen two actors share a stage with such generosity and support." Full Review


"This powerful, intimate, immediate and contemporary production in which the audience is never more than four rows from the action is a riveting experience of a play one might have seen many times before. While the production may be cool in the emotional department, the diction is such that every word registers and the muscular, testosterone-driven cast is always compelling." Full Review


"Though Craig's Iago may have a slight edge in the first half, Oyelowo impressively captures the mix of brave warrior and innocent naive when it comes to his love life. By the time his General falls prey to the suspicions planted by his duplicitous second banana, this is definitely a two-star triumph...Under Gold's direction, the rest of the ensemble lends strong support...Whatever I found less than ideal before intermission turned completely compelling during the the play's big finale." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Gold knows when to increase the volume on his contemporary touches and when simply to trust the words. This isn’t a radical re-interpretation of 'Othello' so much as a fresh coat of paint and a strong, clear reading, never forgetting our present moment...The acting throughout is vivid, muscular and great on the ear. Craig and Oyelowo are superb together, and they give the language heft and fire...Oyelowo is the most physically imposing, emotionally stricken Othello in memory." Full Review


"Inspired, blazingly muscular and visceral. It is also as raw and real as the unfinished wood on the walls...This is high-concept Shakespeare...But it is also high-intelligence and passionate. Unlike many Othellos, who get upstaged by the more theatrical Iago, Oyelowo is just as charismatic...In Iago's soliloquies...Craig's hearty voice hollows into rich, menacing beauty...Gold’s direction is a rowdy universe away from his sensitive touch in the Tony-winning 'Fun Home,' but just as authentic." Full Review


“Shakespeare at its most exhilarating. Director Sam Gold delivers a contemporary in-your-face rendering of the 400-year-old tragedy that feels thrillingly fresh and entirely relevant…Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo prove themselves phenomenal stage actors. For three-plus hours, they lead a first-class company in this devastating tale of love, jealousy and betrayal…This is a high-energy death spiral featuring some of the best-choreographed stage fighting I have ever seen." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

"Craig's is a chilling performance, filled with cold hatred of Oyelowo’s tormented Othello, in an intense, nervy, outstanding production of Shakespeare’s tragedy...If Craig chills the blood, it’s Oyelowo who arouses the passions as he tries to wrestle free of the jealousy and doubt that Iago keeps stoking...Both men are big enough stars to be able to take their names to Broadway, but seeing them in such an intimate, immersive production is an unforgettable experience." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"This creative team is spot-on in their collaborative efforts to bring to life Mr. Gold’s progressive rendering, but once this magnificent cast affords the words of this masterpiece, these efforts all but disappear as the emotional execution of the language erupts to consume all the senses...This production manages to involve the audience in the action, immerse them in the emotional content, and deliver the poetic language, while never conceding to phenomenalism." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig disappear utterly into their roles...With the Bard’s tricky verse mostly intact, it’s a testament to the cast’s efforts and abilities that its original intentions are telegraphed so well through gesture, inflection, and emotion...For all the rich performances and creative risk-taking onstage, it’s Oyelow’s Othello who ultimately holds the anguished heart and soul of the play in his hands...He imbues every line and gesture with timeless, luminous humanity." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Ripping good modern-dress production starring Oyelowo and Craig under Sam Gold’s masterly direction...Oyelowo easily wraps his mouth around Othello’s triple-crème verse yet makes a fully believable spectacle of the irrationality that nibbles away at all that beauty...And Craig, in his best NY stage outing to date, makes something disturbingly familiar out of his casually amoral Iago...This production brings us closer to the cold heart of sociopathy than anything outside of the nightly news." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"So compelling are the issues raised, and so effectively are they addressed, that the tiny missteps matter more than they ought to...As good as the staging is, it loses credibility in the final quarter...That it hardly matters is a testament to how much this company gets right in every other way...So powerful is the humanity on display here that even though Gold doesn't pretend to have the answers, you'll remain consumed by the questions he asks long after you leave the theater." Full Review


"If some of Gold's choices are confounding or annoyingly coy, most of them prove striking, smart and surprising...The keystone here is the stupendous Craig, who plays Iago as an unmistakably Trump-era figure...Craig is matched beautifully by Oyelowo...These three-plus hours gallop along, and the marvelous intimacy of the space allows us to witness a pair of extraordinary actors at closer range than we'll likely ever see them again." Full Review

Epoch Times

"Oyelowo is excellent as the title character, who takes Othello from a man of unbridled joy and confidence to one undone by his own deep-rooted insecurities...Craig is perfect as the quietly malevolent Iago...The production is also helped by the strong fight direction by Thomas Schall...'Othello' remains one of the more timely works of Shakespearean canon, with this particular production making its points powerfully, indeed." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"In his intimate production of 'Othello,' director Sam Gold lures the audience in as co-conspirators to Daniel Craig's playful Iago...With Gold’s contemporary gloss, the underlying work bends but does not break. From scene-to-scene, dramatic lighting effects and concepts of physical space evolve but these choices complement the text and mostly maintain internal consistency...Gold brings out a buoyancy in Craig whose Iago springs with a dangerous joy." Full Review

The Times (UK)

"A new and deeply visceral take on 'Othello'...It stars two of the most powerful actors of our time: David Oyelowo as Shakespeare’s Moor and Daniel Craig as the evil, scheming Iago...Both actors prove themselves able Shakespeareans, nimble with the language and commanding in their portrayals...The combination of the modernity and the intimacy is to make the action current, to implicate us all in what’s going on on stage." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Craig's a wonderfully engaging performance, worthy of the hype and the movie star excitement surrounding this production. The rest of the casting is fascinating and diverse, heaving with masculinity and intensity...In Gold’s creation, this 'Othello' powers through, as if on a military charge against the enemy. Its energy is exhilarating. The power lies in the snippets of humanity that weaves their way through." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"In Oyelowo’s emotive performance, which suggests Othello’s otherness with a slight African accent, there’s a vein of self-loathing that runs fast and wide within him...Oyelowo finds the most to do with the verse, rendering it clearly and lyrically. Most of the rest convey the sense of the language rather than enjoying it, but perhaps that’s what Gold wants...Still, he and his dramaturg, Michael Sexton, find accessibility and humor in the text and there are finely varied performances." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Craig makes an altogether strong showing as the poison-tongued Iago…Oyelowo comes naturally to Othello...This worthy production is not likely to erase memories of 'Othellos' past; the contemporary slant has resonance with its references of current-day politics and current-day war zones, but the majesty of play and language is—inevitably—diminished. But it’s fair to say that the Craig-Oyelowo-Gold 'Othello' is something to see, and will not be soon forgotten." Full Review

The Wrap

"Gold has injected Othello and his soldiers with so much testosterone that the stolen handkerchief emerges as just one other reason to beat somebody’s head in. Schall’s direction of the fight scenes leave the audience gasping. It’s all very movie realistic, as are Oyelowo’s many epileptic fits, and he effectively performs the play’s second half as one long mad scene...As insightful as the staging often is, the female characters don’t always make sense in this man’s world." Full Review

Paste Magazine

"Bringing Othello’s jealousy, and, ultimately, downfall to life, Oyelowo gives a performance of unrestrained passion...The architect of Othello’s destruction is played with a casual ease by Craig, who portrays masculine tension with precise cold calculation...Viewing the carnage onstage, with dead bodies grouped together, the timelessness of the play was inescapable. One hopes it doesn’t paint a picture of the future." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"While this 'Othello' can be uncomfortable and even annoying, it is impossible for me to dismiss Sam Gold’s often startlingly effective production...Beneath Sam Gold’s attention-grabbing choices, in the last of its three hours, we are left with Shakespeare’s words performed by a first-rate cast...It’s natural to focus on the two movie stars, and they deserve the attention. But part of what makes the performances impressive is the way they blend in with the supporting cast." Full Review


"Oyelowo makes a fierce Othello, using his imposing physical presence and resonant voice to reduce this noble character to a more primal state...Craig takes advantage of his military surroundings to add another dimension to Iago’s character. He’s still the sly villain who takes abstract delight in the destruction of his victims...The female characters are the only ones not well-served in the production’s military environment." Full Review

AM New York

"An intriguing and intimate production...Craig takes a surprisingly casual and quiet approach to Iago, eschewing the showiness and signs of villainy that are associated with the role...Oyelowo, initially sharp and well-composed, eventually turns wounded and emotional as Othello...Some of Gold’s choices are questionable, but it’s well-executed overall...Would it have been so terrible to abridge the text by a half hour or so, especially since the audience is made to sit upon wooden benches?" Full Review

Must see, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Shakespeare's dramas move you like an earthquake when they're done well -- and this one is very well-done!

Don't see it if you dislike Shakespeare no matter how beautiful the production.

Must see, Masterful, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You want to see Othello reimagined and still absorbing

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of Shakespeare

Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if If you like shakespeare and like a reimagined show

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist

Must see, Masterful, Intelligent, Edgy, Great acting

See it if You prefer to be fully absorbed by great acting, direction in a unique, intimate setting of a classical tragedy.

Don't see it if You prefer more traditional staging of a classical play

Epic, Intense, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a masterful, passionate and easy to understand Shakespeare, which feels naturally contemporary.

Don't see it if It's difficult to sit through a three hour performance, you don't care for Shakespeare and you don't want to see a masterful production

Must see, Masterful, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You appreciate full-length Shakespeare acted beautifully with depth of character. You like Shakespeare in contemporary dress and settings.

Don't see it if You like shorter versions of Shakespeare and don't like modern settings. Would rather see a new play.

Resonant, Edgy, Great acting, Dizzying, Absorbing

See it if you want to see one of the best shows of the year.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy quality shows.

Masterful, Refreshing, Intense, Edgy, Ambitious



Intense, Profound, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare at its most intense and thought-provoking, appreciate phenomenal actors who put their heart and soul into their work

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Shakespeare's work, do not like his plays put in a modern setting or squeamish about the subject matter

Also Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo deserve praise for headlining this NYTW... Read more Read less

Masterful, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in a fresh look at Shakspeare

Don't see it if you hate Shakespeare or you can't stand Shakespeare in modern dress

Riveting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting

See it if A spectacular production. Craig and Oyelowo are mesmerizing. The modern day setting lends resonance. The intimate setting is perfect.

Don't see it if The seating is not the most comfortable. The set is perfection, but with audience on 3 sides, you will not see everything all the time.

Also I was blown away by this production. Craig's Iago is at once cunning, ... Read more Read less

Edgy, Great acting, Exquisite, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Wanting to be mesmerized by Shakespeare! This company presents Othello in a way I never thought possible. All star cast; knockout performanc

Don't see it if You have no patience for Shakespeare, Even those who are unfamiliar with the language will understand because of the direction and clarity.

Emotional, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if An absorbing, heart-breaking evening. Innovative staging that WORKS. David Oyelowo in one of the best performances I've seen in ages.

Don't see it if 3:10 minutes long with one intermission. That's too much for a lot of folks, even if it's great theater. Bench seating doesn't help.

Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy powerful intimate unique theatre w/ superb cast that holds your attention for 3hr show. don't have to be shakespeare fan to enjoy!

Don't see it if you like traditional theatre or absolutely hate shakespeare and don't have the attention span for an intense 3 hr production

Masterful, Riveting, Edgy, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You like modern versions of Shakespearean tragedies played with an edge by great actors Craig & Oyelowo;superb cast in intimate setting

Don't see it if You are a traditionalist;dislike the Bard's play tweaked to show the versatility of his work brought into modern times

Also Some people mock big movie actors as overpaid and pampered. As a membe... Read more Read less

Must see, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing, Clever

See it if best Othello I have seen

Don't see it if hoy líen superficial and comercial plays!!

Intense, Masterful, Must see, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you can get a ticket... brilliant on so many levels.

Don't see it if you prefer a traditional Shakespeare staging.

Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Clever

See it if you want to see a clever staging of the show, with some masterful performances.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy an "Othello" with a slow burn during the first half of the show.

Riveting, Masterful, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love well-acted Shakespeare, thoughtfully directed, and creatively designed.

Don't see it if you have a hard time sitting in comfortable seats for a long time or Shakespeare just isn't your thing.

Masterful, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if If you want am amazing theater experience involving the use of new technilogy

Don't see it if If your not open To New ideas

Must see, Intense, Great acting, Great staging, Clever

See it if you like Shakespeare or well acted plays (and if you can get a ticket!). See it if you DON'T like Shakespeare, as this play could help that.

Don't see it if Gun shots and violence on stage scare you.

Powerful, Intense, Great staging, Riveting, Great acting

See it if you can get a ticket.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or Shakespeare in modern dress.

Masterful, Must see, Intense, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want to see two great actors in an intense contemporary staging in an intimate off-Broadway house.

Don't see it if you dislike contemporary stagings of Shakespeare, performed at full length.

Intense, Riveting, Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if WOW

Don't see it if scenes staged in dark places don't interest you

Masterful, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want to see two superb actors at the top of their game and are thrilled by powerful staging. If you can snag a ticket, don't miss it!

Don't see it if you can't abide by nontraditional staging of Shakespeare.

Cast & Creatives (24)