Jun. 17: St. Louis Shakespeare Festival 21st Season Picnic Gala to Feature A Conversation with KING LEAR Star André De Shields Prior to Performance

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival is celebrating its return to the stage with a luxury picnic under the stars, raising funds in support of their 21st Season of free Shakespeare on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

The evening begins with A Conversation with King Lear star and Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winner André De Shields at 6:00 p.m., who will discuss Lear, Broadway and more in Emerson Grand BasinEnjoy hors d’oeuvres and beverages at your socially distanced cocktail tables. Valet service will be available at the north end of the Grand Basin on Lagoon Drive. Shuttle service will take you from Lagoon Drive to Shakespeare Glen.

Check-in at the box office at 7:00 p.m. at Shakespeare Glen and Festival staff will usher you to your reserved pod. Butler’s Pantry delivers picnic fare right to your table.

The performance of King Lear begins at 8:00. Enjoy an unforgettable performance of Shakespeare’s greatest—and most modern—masterpiece.

Rain Plan: If the performance on June 17th is canceled due to rain, your group can still enjoy its luxury picnic at any performance between June 22–26.

Click here to purchase tickets.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones presented Producing Artistic Director Tom Ridgely with a Proclamation naming June 4, 2021 as King Lear/André De Shields Day in the City of St. Louis prior to the opening night performance. King Lear is the first major live theatrical event in the country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

André De Shields is the triple crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. New York Senator Brad Hoylman presented Mr. De Shields with a Senate Proclamation on Thursday, April 8th, 2021 proclaiming the day “André De Shields Appreciation Day”. The surprise proclamation was arranged by producer Tom D’Angora to honor the extensive charity work and activism, along with the public appearances, Mr. De Shields has done for the community this year. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and the 2020 Red Bull Theater Matador Award for Excellence in Classical Theater. In 2019, he received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. His film and TV roles include Keys, who first appeared in a 2014 episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” He has also appeared on “Law and Order” twice, as Dr. Elvin Simmonds (Custody,1996) and Mr. Miller (Cost of Capital,2006); Dale Rustin on NBC’s “New Amsterdam”; Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”  on Netflix; Chubby in “Katy Keene” on the CW; and Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can be heard on the podcasts Live From Mount Olympus as Hermes and One Speckled Hen. He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch’s  new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Photos: Opening Night with St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR Star André De Shields; St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Presents Proclamation Naming June 4, 2021 – KING LEAR/ André De Shields Day 

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