King Lear in Forest Park
8 p.m. nightly (except Mondays) through June 27. Forest Park, 6604 Fine Arts Drive. Free. 314-367-7275.
Tony Award-winning actor André De Shields leads a cast of actors of color in the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival's production of King Lear, running through June 27 and marking a stunning return to Forest Park after a pandemic-canceled 2020. It's not just the prestige of De Shields, whose performance drives the tale of an aging king going mad while destroying everything, and everyone, around him. The setting itself is entirely new: While the diverse cast embodies the classic Shakespearean dialogue, director Carl Cofield transposes the narrative to Africa, with drums replacing trumpets and lush, inspired costumes drawing the audience into the clash of fathers, fools and family — all of which play out beneath the towering walls of a battered palace erected in the heart of Forest Park. Amid picnic blankets and lawn chairs, the audience is treated to a vision that still feels relevant: At the heart of the story are Lear and the loyal Earl of Gloucester (Brian Anthony Wilson), two fathers who grapple with the frailty of their bodies and the tragedy that drags them through paranoia, violence and deceit. Their downfalls, twisting together toward the play's thundering climax, produce a timeless exploration of the power of madness — and, for those caught in the wake, the madness of power itself.
Now This Is Pod Spacing: Ticket info for the pod seating can be found at stlshakes.org. Reservations are required for the free tickets, while premium pods closer to the stage run $50-$500. Check for availability.
Adult Play Date at the Magic House
5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17. The Magic House, 516 South Kirkwood Road. $30. 314-822-8900.
Have you ever wanted to stumble around the old Magic House exhibits from your youth without having to push any kids out of your way? The Magic House typically bills itself as the St. Louis Children's Museum, but for one night, it's time to call the babysitter. (Childless adults, this one's for you, too! Call your dog sitter?) Think of Adult Play Date as the fancy field trip to this St. Louis staple that you didn't know you needed. Your $30 ticket includes complimentary Anheuser-Busch products, a drink ticket to Brennan's Booze Truck and appetizers from local favorites St. Louis Kolache and Gus' Pretzels, with musical duo Public Display of Affection providing the soundtrack for the evening in the front garden. It's an excellent deal for date night now that all the remote learning is over for the school year — and yes, they still have that electrically charged ball that makes your hair stand up like you just saw a ghost.
The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., giving you plenty of time to get home and tuck the kids (or dogs) in after.
You Can Still Help: If you can't attend but still want to give your support to a St. Louis institution after a difficult 2020, Brennan's is donating 30 percent of their online sales in June to the Magic House if you use the code MAGIC30. Just head to boozeandsnacks.com.
8 p.m. Friday, June 18. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway. $10 advance only. No phone.
After fifteen months of quiet, St. Louis' premiere DIY spot, the Sinkhole, is finally opening its doors once again. Even as other venues in the St. Louis area and beyond began hosting shows with limited capacity and social distancing requirements, the Sinkhole continued to bide its time, owing to the fact it's small stature and shotgun setup pretty much rendered those measures impossible. That's not to say owner Matt Stuttler was just sitting around. During the venue's downtime, Stuttler worked to record a number of acts, including Sunwyrm, NoPoint and Hurt Feelings, and he also curated and sponsored the I Watched Music on the Internet live-streaming series at Arch City Audio Visual's state-of-the-art sound and light stage, arguably the best live-streamed series of shows of the whole pandemic. Still, it's exciting to see that the venue is finally back to its roots, with a two-band show featuring sludgy doom metal duo Van Buren and the first show of new act Enemy of Magic. In short: Welcome back Sinkhole! We missed you.
One Step Closer: The fact that smaller venues like the Sinkhole are finally reopening serves as a nice sign that things are finally getting back to some semblance of normalcy after a brutal fifteen months — and as a good indication that vaccines are working. Get that jab if you haven't already!
4 p.m Sunday, June 20. Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Boulevard. 314-754-1850.
It's important to lift up the voices of those who often don't get a chance to speak, and the Transfuturism exhibit at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation aims to provide a platform for those voices to be heard. Transfuturism is a celebration of the trans and gender-fluid community told through paintings and stories from black trans and non-gender conforming artists and activists. The event features emcee Maxi Glamour with music by DJ Makeda Kravitz. Refreshments at the outdoor event will be served, and a mask is required regardless of vaccination status. This event will be an important opportunity to support the trans community, celebrate their art, listen to their stories and lift up all those who need to be heard.
Before the Closing Ceremony: The public event celebrates the end of the current online art auction. All proceeds for the auction go directly to support the Justice Fleet, the Acorn Center for Restoration and Freedom, the Black Trans Prayer Book and the Trans Justice Funding Project.