In this version, Othello is a major hip-hop star who hears the amazing vocals of a singer named Desdemona. He adds her to his tracks and then marries the wealthy suburbanite who grew up in a house with six stories. Iago is a hardcore rapper and longtime member of Othello's crew, and Cassio is an emerging pop music rapper who Othello decides to produce and take on tour, dropping Iago to third billing. Angry to be the warm up to the warm-up act, and a boy band version of rap at that, Iago conspires to take down Cassio and get his revenge on Othello by making him suspicious of Desdemona's fidelity.
Roderigo, who has a crush on Desdemona, is a nerdy lighting designer, into Dungeons and Dragons–type gaming; among the gifts he sends to Desdemona is 20-sided dice. When Roderigo, at Iago's direction, spikes Cassio's drink at an album-release party, the young rapper's behavior so upsets Othello that he kicks him off the tour. Meanwhile, Iago plants the seeds of jealousy in Othello's mind. The key piece of evidence is a gold, jewel-encrusted chain Othello gave Desdemona upon their engagement that Emilia finds and hands over to Iago, her ever-insulting husband. Bianca is a Cassio groupie, and Shakespeare's Lodovico and the Duke of Venice are combined into Loco Vito, the tennis-loving CEO of First Folio records (his rap includes references to Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, Wimbledon, and Desdemona being as perfect as Maria Sharapova on clay). Silliness like that slides through their rhymes effortlessly and helps keep the laughs coming all the way through Emilia's death, when Othello points out that everybody in Shakespeare seems to die on yet one more "Word!" shouts Emilia.
The latter half of The Remix tracks almost scene for scene with Othello, including Othello eavesdropping on Iago and Cassio supposedly talking about Desdemona but actually talking about "the ho" Bianca, whereupon Othello sees the chain in Cassio's hand; Othello pumping Emilia for information about Desdemona's duplicity with Cassio; Othello striking Desdemona in front of Loco Vito; the attack on Cassio with the death of Roderigo; and the final catastrophe in Desdemona's bedchamber. Emilia's speech to Desdemona about the duplicity of men becomes one of the show's best and funniest numbers as she leads the rest of the cast—all wearing wigs and shimmering gold dresses—in a blues-tinged number singing, "It's a man's world, but he be nothing without a woman or a girl."
Desdemona is never seen on stage. Her presence is strictly her voice coming out of the DJ's speakers and a seemingly ethereal spirit in the air (the way Othello gazes out at her over the audience) until the end when Othello directs his vile rap to the pillow lying on an equipment trunk.
Check back soon when libretto and/or lyrics for Othello: The Remix becomes available.