One of the most proclaimed performances of the role of Othello during the twentieth century was Laurence Olivier’s at the Royal National Theatre in 1964. The film version still holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for acting ever given to a Shakespeare film. In 1999 Ray Fearon became the first black British actor to take the part, the first black man to play Othello with the RSC since Paul Robeson.
In the twenty-first century there was a performance for which tickets were selling for £2000 on the internet. It was at the Donmar Warehouse in London, directed by Michael Grandage with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello and Ewan McGregor as Iago. The latest big hit as Othello is the British Black comedian, Lenny Henry.
Other Manifestations of Othello
There have been many operas and ballets based on Othello. The most notable of those is Verdi’s opera, Otello, an Italian Grand Opera in four acts, widely thought to be Verdi’s greatest opera. The American actor, William Marshall played Othello in a jazz musical version, Catch My Soul, with Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago, in Los Angeles in 1968.[ His Othello was captured on record in 1964 withJay Robinson as Iago and on video in 1981 with Ron Moody as Iago.