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Arts & Entertainment
Staff Pick

Staff Pick

Best Live Theater of the Past Year 

King Lear

Sometimes, great theater takes a madman’s touch. When that madman is Shakespeare’s King Lear, it takes a special kind of madness, the sort that can encompass the role of a monarch at the height of his power, and then, over the course of two and a half hours, demonstrate a degree of cataclysmic self-destruction that can captivate audiences for centuries. This summer in St. Louis, that madman was Tony Award-winning actor André De Shields, who led a cast of actors of color in the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of King Lear. With the legendary dialogue unchanged, director Carl Cofield used the setting, costumes and music to reach new heights in presenting the downfall of an old, hurt king. It was theater at its most powerful. Staged just as COVID-19 vaccines opened a window of hope for escaping the insanity of our current time, the production reminded us how deep the scars of distrust can run — and what happens when we let our demons take control. —Danny Wicentowski
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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