Matt Sax’s new musical ‘Venice’ reimagines classic ‘Othello’

Time to explore a new hip-hop/rap/rock take on “Othello.”  Meet Matt Sax in his new musical “Venice,” the opening previews starts May 28 in New York.

Matt Sax is a rising star and he’s also a nice Jewish boy from Westchester. He is composing rap and hip-hop music and lyrics for his “Othello-like” play set in the future, despite the fact he cannot read music. 

Although he’s never had any musical training, Matt started doing hip-hop beats on his computer. “I started to feel like I could write music even though I didn’t have any training, so I didn’t have any constraints – no bad habits,” says Matt.



He will be presenting his play “Venice” on May 28–June 23 at New York’s acclaimed Public Theater, where Artistic Director Oskar Eustis considers Matt one of the voices of a new generation.

“Venice” is a musical collaboration between Matt Sax and Eric Rosen. Time Magazine called Venice “the next major American musical that could well be in the making,” and Variety said “a new synthesis of rhythm and rock opera no fan of either art form should pass up.”



The plot focuses on a dystopian near-future fictional city named Venice. The show premiered at the Copaken Stage in Kansas City in 2010 as a co-production between Kansas City Rep and Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. 

In “Venice,” Matt is the narrator of the story, and Shakespeare’s Othello is the jumping off point. “It’s 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. It’s part epic romance, part political tale, and it transports the audience to a fallen city in the not-so-distant future.”

Tickets for the Public Theater performances of the full-length show are an affordable $15.00  – a way of introducing theatre to a new generation of theatregoers.

Although his time is tight with Venice, Matt is currently collaborating on a potential musical with hip-hop legend Dr. Dre, and is working on his musical Up & ADAM, a play about regular people who don superhero costumes to fight crime and corruption.

In his one-man show Clay,  Sax plays seven different characters in the work, a hip-hop musical that draws from Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Falstaff. It played to acclaim at Lincoln Center Theater’s new works initiative, where he became the youngest person to have a play produced there, receiving Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. He won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Solo Performance in its presentation by Lookingglass Theatre and About Face Theatre.  It also played at Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group and the
Kansas City Repertory Theatre. 

A movie version of Clay will be available via streaming during the New York Public Theater run of Venice.