Moor The Merrier

1996
by Lisa Backus

GL's Michael Tylo appears in Othello - and delights in playing Shakespeare's most venomous villain

A brave and handome commander suspects his lovely wife is sleeping with one of his lieutenants. It's not true, of course. It's just a vengeful plot hatched by a jealous underling. But he becomes so obsessed with and so certain of her infidelity that he finally strangles her to death.

A storyline straight out of Days of Our Lives? No, it was written almost 400 years ago by the master storyteller himself - William Shakespeare.

"Shakespeare was the Neil Simon of his time," says GL's Michael Tylo (Quint), who stars as Iago, the venomous Moorish underling, in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's production of Othello. "He wrote for the masses. He had a real understanding of human nature, and I think he says everything much more eloquently than we do today."

Michael relishes the chance to play this treacherous character. "He's evil and he's slick, but the trick for me is going to be in creating a character that the audience will love to hate rather than just a standard villain," the actor says. "I hope to make him rather like J.R. Ewing of Dallas - the audience loathes him but can't resist rooting for him."

Michael says he's starred in just about every Shakespearean play, which is why he and his wife actress Hunter Tylo (ex-Taylor, B&B), are on the Festival's board of directors. "I love Shakespeare and I wanted to have a venue for soap actors who want to stretch their talents a bit," he explains.

This fall, he'll help budding actors learn more about the Bard - and daytime television - by heading the newly formed Television and Film Department of Allentown College in Center Valley, Pa. "I can teach and do the soap because Quinton is only a recurring character for now," Michael explains. "I'll be on GL as much as they want me because I don't have to be on campus full time. Now, if I can just manage to get from the house we're selling in Las Vegas to New York to tape five episodes of GL before I start the play, it'll work out just fine.

Othello opened July 9 and runs through August 3 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at Allentown College.

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