By Robert Simonson
16 Oct 2001
Becky Ann Baker is Emilia, Kate Forbes is Desdemona, Jay Goede is Cassio and Christopher Evan Welch is Roderigo in the new Off-Broadway mounting of Shakespeare's Othello at the Public Theatre, due to open Nov. 20 for a run through Dec. 30. As previously announced, the show will star Keith David as the Moor and Liev Schreiber as Iago.
The cast is completed by Remy Auberjonois, Paul Vincent Black, Gregory Derelian, Mark H. Dold, George Morfogen (Duke of Venice), Natacha Roi (Bianca), Jack Ryland (Barbantio), Thomas Schall (Gratiano), Thom Sesma (Montano) and Dan Snook.
Doug Hughes (An Experiment with an Air Pump, Lake Hollywood) will direct the tragedy, replacing the originally announced Mark Lamos.
Schreiber is becoming a New York stage regular. He starred as Hamlet in the Andrei Serban production at the Public almost exactly two years ago. And last season, he acted with Juliette Binoche in Harold Pinter's Betrayal at the Roundabout Theatre Company. Schreiber emerged as an alternative film mainstay in the mid-90s. Among his indy credits are "Daytrippers," "Walking and Talking" and the film "Hamlet" starring Ethan Hawke, in which he played Laertes (the movie was released around the same time he was playing the Dane on stage).
Keith David appeared in two Public Theater productions in the last season alone: David Grimm's Kit Marlowe and A Winter's Tale in Central Park. On Broadway, he starred in Seven Guitars and Jelly's Last Jam.
Baker, wife of actor Dylan Baker, appeared in the new A.R. Gurney comedy Buffalo Gal at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this past summer. Her New York credits include Titanic, June Moon and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Forbes has appeared on Broadway in The School For Scandal , Inherit the Wind and in last year's notorious flop production of Macbeth, starring Kelsey Grammer, in which she played Lady Macduff.
Goede may be best known to Broadway audiences from his appearance in the short-lived Christopher Durang comedy Sex and Longing. Since then, he has starred in several regional productions and starred alongside Baker in Most Fabulous Story. Like Schreiber and David, Welch is accustomed to playing Shakespeare at the Public—he recently performed in Mary Zimmerman's Measure for Measure in Central Park.
Roughly a decade ago, The Public Theater presented Othello in Central Park. Raul Julia played the title role, Christopher Walken was Iago and Mary Beth Hurt was Emilia.
Opening the Public Theater's 2001-02 season will be Elaine Stritch's autobiographical show Elaine Strich: At Liberty. The show begins previews Oct. 26.