For the first time in St. Louis Shakespeare Festival history, the Company is bringing Shakespeare in the Park to audiences beyond the Glen. For a limited time, the 2021 Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear starring Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winner André De Shields (Hadestown, The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, The Full Monty) and helmed by Carl Cofield, will be available online. The virtual premiere is on Wednesday, July 28 at 8:00 p.m. CT, or you can stream online through August 1. Revisit the production or watch for the first time signing up for access here
The video capture of KING LEAR was directed and edited by Colin O’Brien, with Phillip Hamer serving as Director of Photography.
Performances of King Lear, part of The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s 21st summer of free Shakespeare in Forest Park, began June 2 and continued through June 27. King Lear was the first major live theatrical event in the country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Click here for the virtual playbill.
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.
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.
The original stage production presented by Edward Jones, with leadership support by Whitaker Foundation. Filming made possible by Mont and Karen Levy.
About the Virtual Release
Best enjoyed by ages 12 and up. This production includes depictions of physical violence and the presence of firearms.
How to Watch
Simply fill out the form here and wait for the email on Wednesday to watch the premiere via a private link on Youtube. Following the premiere, guests will be sent a private link to watch online available through August 1.
How much does it cost?
This virtual production is free of cost. The Festival is primarily funded by generous donors like you. If possible, there is a $20 suggested donation amount per viewing but the online event remains free and accessible to all.
NPR Black Theater Artists Are Helping #Shakespeare Speak To More Diverse Audiences
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
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
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker 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. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.
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