Best Of 2020

Best LiveStream (Theater): The St. Louis Black Repertory Company

Thomasina Clarke as Fannie Lou Hamer, accompanied by guitarist Dennis Brock.

Closed theaters have been one of the ongoing tragedies of the pandemic. We tend to think of it only in terms of lost shows, glossing over all the people out of work and the ripple effect on supporting businesses. As they all try to hang on, they’ve had to scramble to find new ways to connect. That’s meant livestreams, replays of recorded shows and video interviews for theater companies across the nation. The Black Rep has taken a particularly proactive approach, not only to the shutdowns but societal problems. In early October, the company streamed live performances of Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It. The performances weren’t in empty theaters, but parking lots as part of voter drives in partnership with St. Louis activist groups. Thomasina Clarke’s powerful performance as the famed civil rights activist, accompanied by guitarist Dennis Brock, was both a lure to bring people out and the message to show them why it matters. — Doyle Murphy