Past Event

Apr 10—21, 2019

American Moor

Taking back Shakespeare’s great, black leading man.

“A deep-from-the-heart spellbinder [that] is a blisteringly eloquent and penetrating meditation on the ever-urgent matter of race in America.”

— The Boston Globe

As an experienced, African-American actor auditions for Othello he is met with prejudice, racism and privilege while negotiating with a young, white director who presumes to understand Shakespeare’s Moorish prince far better than the performer standing before him. By combining an audition from Hell and a cutting, laugh-out-loud internal monologue, American Moor challenges the capacity of theatre to make all people fully visible and embraced. Written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, American Moor‘s electric storytelling explores the inequities of life as a black actor and life as a black man. The character imagines telling the director, “If you could just see me, I could save you from another cookie cutter Othello.”

Keith Hamilton Cobb’s 90-minute, tour-de-force solo performance returns to Boston after its award-winning run.



Emerson Paramount Center
559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111


Apr 10, 2019 - Apr 21, 2019

Special Offers

Stay in the Paramount Center following the 2PM performance on Saturday, April 20th for a post-show discussion with Keith Hamilton Cobb.


90 minutes, no intermission

Tickets from $20

Ages 14+


ASL Performance
Sat, Apr 20 8:00 pm

Audio Described Performance
Sat, Apr 20 2:00 pm



Keith Hamilton Cobb


Keith Hamilton Cobb & Josh Tyson


Kim Weild

Set Design:

Wilson Chin

Lighting Designer:

Alan C. Edwards

Sound Designer:

Christian Frederickson

Sponsored By:

Produced by ArtsEmerson in association with Evangeline Morphos.
Support for the student matinee provided by the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation and funded in part by the Rockland Trust Foundation.











“Extremely funny…wrenching…really powerful…incredibly visceral and personal.”


Jared Bowen, WGBH Arts Editor

“An unbelievable production…I was mesmerized.”

— Amanda McGowan, Boston Public Radio

“Profoundly gorgeous…a stunningly nuanced and knotty yarn, one both deeply rooted in the Black experience, and yet expressly aimed for a wider audience.”

Michael Hoban, The Theater Mirror

“Cobb’s earnest, reasoned script slashes so precisely that you may not see Shakespeare — and a lot of roles played by black performers — quite the same way for a while.”

Washington Post

“A deep-from-the-heart spellbinder [that] is a blisteringly eloquent and penetrating meditation on the ever-urgent matter of race in America.”

— The Boston Globe

“Revelatory…it had me riveted.”


“A courageous performance and a thrilling evening at the theater.”

Joyce Kulhawik

“He is funny, provocative, and touching. If this were only a work about one man’s journey of discovering Shakespeare it would be outstanding. However, there is much more to Mr. Cobb’s story.”

Boxing Over Broadway

“The play brilliantly interweaves various clashing points of view…[Cobb brings] his A-game to this performance: viscerally, intellectually, and emotionally. The result is a compelling meta-meditation, political and philosophical, that leaves lasting impressions — while also provoking unsettling questions.”

The Arts Fuse

“It is a deeply personal and one-sided play that nevertheless applies more broadly to historical predecessors and/or contemporary events.”

— Theatre Journal

“It forces you to think about Shakespeare and how it is performed in America, about the “real” Othello and how comfortable most theater people are with stereotypes and perceived truths about African Americans.”

— DC Theatre Scene

“In Shakespeare’s world he could say and do things that he would never be able to in real life. The heartbreak he expresses when he finds himself stereotyped within that world is crushing.”

— Bay State Banner

“Urgent and necessary.”

Victorian Visual Culture

“Absolutely a MUST SEE!! Keith Hamilton Cobb makes sense of all that is right and wrong with performing Shakespeare’s warrior.”

— @Elysabethgrace

“Don’t Miss American Moor. Powerful and Revealing.”

— @Jazz247

“I thought it was stunning. I loved every moment of it.”

— Audience Member

“Fantastic! I’d recommend it to anybody.”

— Audience Member

“I thought it was absolutely amazing.”

— Audience Member

“One of the best shows I’ve ever seen!”

— Audience Member

“A phenomenal piece of work. It speaks to the struggle of African American men through out the history of the United States. It’s a MUST SEE.”

— Audience Member

“What a joy to see American Moor at the ArtsEmerson Paramount. Keith Hamilton Cobb is a genius and I will never, ever read, teach or write about Othello in the same way again!”

— @EverdayShakes

“Keith Hamilton Cobb, Thank you for sharing American Moor with us. For showing inner turmoil and feelings we don’t deserve to see, for wrestling in front of us, and for protecting and loving your story. It’s a masterpiece.”

— @Justjess888

“Cobb was brilliant and an amazing script.”

— Debra Weisberg, Facebook

“Go see it! Brilliant and chilling.”

— Nandini Talwar, Facebook

“Great show, and funnier than I thought it would be. Also heartbreaking but the humor made it even more powerful and relatable.”

— Susan Cassidy, Facebook