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

Opening night of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival ‘s KING LEAR in Forest Park, June 4, 2021. Photo by STL From Above

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, directed by Carl Cofield, opened in Forest Park on June 4 in St. Louis, MO. In the title role is Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winner André De Shields (Hadestown, The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, The Full Monty). 

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

King Lear is the first major live theatrical event in the country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Producing Artistic Director Tom Ridgely kicked off the evening’s festivities by acknowledging the year we have all lived through and welcomed the audience back on this perfect summer night for the theater’s return to live outdoor performance.

Producing Artistic Director Tom Ridgely at the opening night performance of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of KING LEAR in Forest Park on June 4, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

He was joined onstage by special guests, Democratic Rep. Cori Bush and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. Mayor Jones presented Ridgely with a Proclamation naming June 4, 2021 as King Lear/André De Shields Day in the City of St. Louis. Mayor Jones was delighted to be attending the opening night performance of King Lear as she is a big fan of André De Shields, and has enjoyed numerous summer nights at Shakespeare in the Park in previous seasons.

Democratic Rep. Cori Bush and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones at the opening night performance of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of KING LEAR in Forest Park on June 4, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and Tom Ridgely at the opening night performance of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of KING LEAR in Forest Park on June 4, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields holds St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones’ Proclamation naming June 4, 2021 as King Lear/André De Shields Day in the City of St. Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones’ Proclamation naming June 4, 2021 as King Lear/André De Shields Day in the City of St. Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances of King Lear, part of The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s 21st summer of free Shakespeare in Forest Park, began June 2 and will continue through June 27, Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. to strictly limited capacity crowds. 

Rayme Cornell, André De Shields and The Company of KING LEAR. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields heads an all-BIPOC company featuring some of the finest actors out of New York, Chicago and St. Louis. He is joined by Brian Anthony Wilson (“The Wire,” “The Sopranos”) as Gloucester, acclaimed Chicago and Shakespearean actor Allen Gilmore as the Fool and St. Louis legend J. Samuel Davis as Kent. The three daughters are played by Nicole King (Cordelia) and Festival favorites Rayme Cornell (Goneril) and Jacqueline Thompson (Regan). Daniel José Molina (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Leland Fowler (TFANA) play Gloucester’s sons Edgar and Edmund, respectively. The company also includes Jason J. Little (Albany), Carl Overly, Jr. (Cornwall) and Michael Tran (Oswald), as well as an ensemble of actors from The Black Rep’s Professional Internship Program: Kentrell Jamison, Theorri London, Brian McKinley, Tyler White and Christina Yancy.

Tyler White, André De Shields, Christina Yancy, Kentrell Jamison, and J. Samuel Davis. Photo by Lia Chang
Tyler White, André De Shields, Christina Yancy, Atum Jones, Kentrell Jamison, Leland Fowler and J. Samuel Davis. Photo by Lia Chang

King Lear is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s greatest – and most modern – masterpiece. A richly imaginative story of love, loyalty and unfathomable loss, it depicts a family and a nation torn apart and turned against itself by disastrous leadership. After the aging king’s plan to divide his kingdom equally among his daughters goes horribly awry, he’s cast out into the most famous storm in all of drama. By turns shocking and profound, Lear paints an unforgettable picture of human endurance pushed to the absolute limit by nature, violence and its own vanity.

Rayme Cornell, Jason J. Little, André De Shields, Allen Gilmore and J. Samuel Davis. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Tran and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Brian Anthony Wilson and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team for King Lear includes first-time Festival designers Wilson Chin (Scenic Design), Mika Eubanks (Costume Design) and David R. Molina (Music and Sound Design). John Wylie (Lighting Design) returns for his fourteenth season.

André De Shields, Allen Gilmore and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances in Shakespeare Glen are free and open to the public but for the first time will be limited in size to ensure the safety of staff, artists and audience. Shakespeare Glen and Box Office open at 6:30 p.m. Click here to plan your visit and reserve a pod. Visit www.stlshakes.org for up-to-date information on reserving pods and more.

J. Samuel Davis and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Allen Gilmore and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
J. Samuel Davis, Allen Gilmore and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Allen Gilmore and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Daniel José Molina. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Daniel José Molina. Photo by Lia Chang

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s 2021 season is funded in part by the Missouri Foundation for Health, Bayer Fund, Regional Arts Commission, Arts Midwest, The Trio Foundation of St. Louis, the Missouri Arts Council and The Gertrude and William A. Bernoudy Foundation.

André De Shields
Brian Anthony Wilson and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR curtain call- MIchael Tran, Brian Anthony Wilson, Leland Fowler, Daniel José Molina, Nicole King, André De Shields, J. Samuel Davis, Allen Gilmore, Jason J. Little, Rayme Cornell, Jacqueline Thompson, Carl Overly, Jr. and the Company. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR curtain call with André De Shields, J. Samuel Davis, Allen Gilmore, Jason J. Little, Rayme Cornell. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
1st Row: Tyler White, Christina Yancy, André De Shields, Daniel José Molina, Rayme Cornell, Jacqueline Thompson, Kentrell Jamison, Brian McKinley, Carl Cofield.
2nd Row: Mika Eubanks, David R. Molina, Brad Sievers, Theorri London, Jason J. Little, Atum Jones, Wilson Chin, Michael Tran, Brian Anthony Wilson, Nicole King, J. Samuel Davis, Allen Gilmore, Carl Overly, Jr. Emilee Buchheit, Sam Hayes. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and the Company of KING LEAR. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Director Carl Cofield and Allen Gilmore. Photo by Lia Chang
Seated: Emilee Buchheit, David R. Molina, André De Shields, Carl Cofield, Allen Gilmore, Sam Hayes. Standing: Mika Eubanks, Wilson Chin. Photo by Lia Chang
Carl Cofield, Andre De Shields, Lia Chang, Allen Gilmore. Photo by David R. Molina
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR Director Carl Cofield, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Producing Artistic Direct Tom Ridgely and his wife, Jennifer Thompson. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR Director Carl Cofield, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Producing Artistic Director Tom Ridgely, and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Tom Ridgely and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Brian Anthony Wilson, Susan Rowe Jennings, and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
King Lear and His Daughters – Nicole King, Rayme Cornell, André De Shields and Jaqueline Thompson. Photo by Lia Chang
Nicole King and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR Director Carl Cofield and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR Director Carl Cofield and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Allen Gilmore and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Christina Yancy, Brian McKinley, Kentrell Jamison, Carl Cofield, André De Shields, Allen Gilmore, Tyler White, Theorri London and Atum Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Kentrell Jamison, Tyler White, Theorri London, Director Carl Cofield, Christina Yancy, Brian McKinley. Photo by Lia Chang
Allen Gilmore, André De Shields and Brian McKinley. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Lia Chang
Atum Jones, Daniel Jose Molina, Michael Tran, Brian Anthony Wilson, Allen Gilmore, Brad Sievers. Photo by Lia Chang
Atum Jones, Michael Tran and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Brian Anthony Wilson, André De Shields and Allen Gilmore. Photo by Lia Chang
Britteny Henry, Brian Anthony Wilson, Allen Gilmore. Photo by Lia Chang
Carl Overly, Jr. and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel José Molina, André De Shields and Leland Fowler. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel José Molina and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Leland Fowler, Daniel José Molina, Michael Tran, Nicole King. Photo by Lia Chang
Lou Ritter, Peter Michalski, Megan Plunkett, Andre De Shields, Rebecca Jaffe, Emily Smith and Abbie Szewczyk. Photo by Lia Chang
Shavante Brogley, Lou Ritter. Photo by Lia Chang
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Marketing and Communications Manager Allie Magee, André De Shields and Associate Producer Colin O’Brien. Photo by Lia Chang
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR in Forest Park. Photo by Lia Chang
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR illustrated guide. Photo by Lia Chang
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR in Forest Park. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR T-shirts, tote bags, posters and blankets are for sale. Photo by Lia Chang
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR poster. Photo by Lia Chang
KING LEAR money. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Broadwayworld: Photos: Go Inside Opening Night of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR With André De Shields & More

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

St. Louis Magazine: André De Shields on playing King Lear in Shakespeare in the Park and why the tragedy is the best play for this time St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Tony winner André De Shields stars in ‘King Lear’ that engages with the times at Shakespeare Festival

American Theatre magazine: You Could Be King André De Shields to Star in The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR, Jun. 2- Jun. 27 

American Theatre: St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Announces Summer Season Playbill: Hadestown Tony Winner André De Shields to Play King Lear for St. Louis Shakespeare Festival 

TheaterMania: André Robin De Shields to Play King Lear for St. Louis Shakespeare Festival This Summer 

Broadwayworld: André De Shields to Star in The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s KING LEAR as Part of its 2021 Summer Season

stltoday.com: Tony winner André De Shields will lead Shakespeare Festival’s ‘King Lear’ in Forest Park

St. Louis Business Journal: St. Louis Shakespeare Festival returns with new production in Forest Park

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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