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Listen: St. Louis Shakespeare Festival On Its ‘King Lear’

Phillip Hamer Photography
Tony Award winning actor Andre De Shields has the title role in St. Louis Shakespeare Festival's production of "King Lear."

“King Lear” may feel too dark, too sad for these times. Tom Ridgely, artistic director of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, resists that interpretation. He joined Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air to explain why this “Lear” — which premieres June 4 in Forest Park with an all-star cast led by Tony Award winner André De Shields — actually offers a dose of hope.

“Obviously, it’s a tragedy, so there’s death, but that’s an inescapable part of life,” Ridgely explained. “But it’s shot through with a kind of earthly grace. People are constantly asking for and receiving forgiveness. Lear and Gloucester have enormous revelations about the difference between who they are and who they thought they were, or who they are and who they want to be. And that to me is very hopeful, that in any stage of life we can still learn, and still improve, and still understand, and still connect in deeper ways.”

The conversation also included comments from Carl Cofield, the associate artistic director of Classical Theatre of Harlem and director of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of “King Lear.”

Why 'King Lear' Is Perfect for 2021
Listen to Tom Ridgely and Carl Cofield discuss St. Louis Shakespeare Festival's production

Related Event
What: Shakespeare in the Park: “King Lear”
When: June 4-27, 2021
Where: Shakespeare Glen, Forest Park

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Sarah Fenske served as host of St. Louis on the Air from July 2019 until June 2022. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis.

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