Hip-Hop Musical Venice Will Play the Public Theater in 2013

By Adam Hetrick
December 13, 2012

The Public Theater has announced that Venice, the hip-hop infused musical inspired by Shakespeare's Othello, will be staged as part of its 2013 spring Public Lab season Off-Broadway.



The Public has been quietly developing the musical by Eric Rosen, Matt Sax and Curtis Moore over the past year and a half. Venice debuted in early 2010 at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, where Rosen is artistic director. The co-production later arrived at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles that fall, where critics were encouraging.

Venice will run May 28-June 23, 2013, in the Anspacher Theater. It will officially open June 13, 2013. Rosen will direct with choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Flashdance, Jersey Boys, Next to Normal). The musical has a book by Eric Rosen, music by Sax and lyrics by Sax and Rosen with additional music by Moore. Rosen and Clay previously collaborated on the one-man hip-hop work Clay, which was seen Off-Broadway at LCT3 in 2008.

The production will have scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Jason Lyons, sound design by Acme Sound Partners and projection design by Jason H. Thompson.

Casting for the Public engagement has not been announced. A fall 2011 workshop at the Public featured In the Heights star Chris Jackson in the central role of Venice Monroe, with Fela! leading man Kevin Mambo as his brother Markos. Co-author Sax also appeared in the workshop that included Uzo Aduba (Prometheus Bound, The Nightingale), Angela Polk, J.D. Goldblatt (Les Miserables), Claybourne Elder (Road Show, One Arm), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot, Passing Strange), Victoria Platt (Sammy), Anna Eilinsfeld, Jon-Michael Reese and George Salazar (Godspell).

The workshop reunited many cast members from the CTG engagement.

According to the Public, "An electrifying new musical, Venice will ignite the stage with a fusion of musical styles from hip-hop and rock to soaring anthems of love and hope, tracing a young man's rise as he fights for what's right against a backdrop of deceit and sibling betrayal. Part epic romance, part political tale, Venice will transport you to a fallen city in the not-so-distant future where revolution is in the air, political structures are crumbling, and only the children of the city's fallen heroes can change the course of history. If you dream of peace, follow us. If you dream of freedom, follow us. If you know these are not the same thing, well… are you ready?"

Rosen is a playwright, director and producer. His original plays and musicals include Winesburg, Ohio, for which he wrote the book and lyrics and directed (Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, and five Barrymore Awards including Best Musical), Dream Boy (Jeff Award for Best Direction and Production), Wedding Play, Dancer from the Dance, Whitman and Undone. He also staged the world premiere of A Christmas Story: The Musical at KC Rep and in a revised production at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Sax won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Solo Performance for Clay in its presentation by Lookingglass Theatre and About Face Theatre. Clay was also presented Off-Broadway by Lincoln Center Theater; it received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations.

Moore composed the score for Timon of Athens at The Public, and recently returned from conducting and performing in Sam Mendes' production of Richard III, starring Kevin Spacey, for the Bridge Project. He has also penned the musicals Triangle, Stagecoach Mary and The Bus To Buenos Aires. He composed and performed songs in the film "Palindromes" and composed the score for "Clear Blue Tuesday."

For tickets phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.