Bringing the magic and artistry of Shakespeare in the Park to communities throughout the bi-state region
On Tuesday, Aug. 3, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival (Tom Ridgely, Producing Artistic Director) kicks off a brand new regional touring production, “TourCo” bringing the magic of Shakespeare in the Park to public spaces across the bi-state area.
As the first public tour production from this initiative, Othello will travel to 24 public parks. Adam Flores (St. Louis Shakespeare
Festival’s Manager of Community Engagement & Education) directs the 90-minute adaptation starring a company of six actors. The free performances will take place nightly at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sundays from August 3-29.
“Shakespeare’s plays should be as free and available to all as our region’s great libraries and stunning public parks,” said producing artistic director Tom Ridgely in a statement. “This summer especially, we knew we had to do everything we could to share the magic of the Glen with as many communities as possible. And Othello in particular strikes straight at the heart of so many of the challenges facing our region. Experiencing it this way will be a revelation for all of us. We can’t wait to hit the road.”
The Festival will begin the tour in East St. Louis at Malcolm W. Memorial Park on August 3, with sweeping views of the riverfront and downtown skyline. It continues on to Tower Grove Park, one of the more well-known parks on the list, for night two. The Tour will visit each of the past nine neighborhoods featured in it’s Shakespeare in the Streets program as well as many smaller parks in North St. Louis. Farther stops in Illinois include Bellville, Collinsville and Edwardsville. Also included are trips to rural parts of Missouri
with a stop in Hermann (Hermann Farms) and in Sullivan, MO (Harney Mansion Grounds). The production was developed to be performed on lawns, in amphitheaters, and pavilions making it adaptable to the location.
● TUE AUG 3 – Malcolm W. Memorial Park (185 W Trendley Ave, East St. Louis IL 62201)
● WED AUG 4 – Tower Grove Park (4257 Northeast Drive, St. Louis MO 63110) [Audio Description
● THU AUG 5 – St. Louis Place Park (2008 St. Louis Ave, St. Louis MO 63106)
● FRI AUG 6 – Love Bank Park (2851 Cherokee St, St Louis MO 63118)
● SAT AUG 7 – The Harney Mansion Grounds (332 S Mansion St, Sullivan, MO 63080)
● SUN AUG 8 – Fairground Park (3715 Natural Bridge Ave, St Louis MO 63107)
● TUE AUG 10 – Woodland Park (Pine Lake Rd, Collinsville IL 62234)
● WED AUG 11- January-Wabash Park (501 N Florissant Rd, Ferguson MO 63135)
● THU AUG 12 – O’Day Park Amphitheater (1000 O’Day Park Dr, O’Fallon MO 63368) [ASL
● FRI AUG 13 – Bella Fontaine Park (9565 Bellefontaine Rd, St. Louis MO 63137)
● SAT AUG 14 – City Park (101 S Buchanan, Edwardsville IL 62025)
● SUN AUG 15 – Bellevue Park (401 Bellevue Park Dr, Belleville IL 62226)
● TUE AUG 17 – Carondelet Park (3900 Holly Hills Blvd, St. Louis MO 63116)
● WED AUG 18 – Chesterfield Amphitheater (631 Veterans Pl Dr, Chesterfield MO 63017)
● THU AUG 19 – Shaw Park (27 S Brentwood Blvd, Clayton MO 63105)
● FRI AUG 20 – Chouteau Park (Choteau Ave & S. Newstead Ave, St. Louis MO 63110)
● SAT AUG 21 – Hermann Farm (526 E 1st St Hermann MO 65041)
● SUN AUG 22 – Jefferson Barracks Park (345 North Rd, W St. Louis MO 63125)
● TUE AUG 24 – Trojan Park (6154 Etzel Ave, St. Louis MO 63133)
● WED AUG 25- Hyde Park (Salisbury St & N. 20th St, St. Louis MO 63107)
● THU AUG 26 – Heritage Park (Brussels, IL 62013)
● FRI AUG 27 – Wehner Park (7600 Hazel Ave, St. Louis, MO 63119)
● SAT AUG 28 – O’Fallon Park (799 E Taylor Ave, St. Louis MO 63147)
● SUN AUG 29 – Ladue Racquet Club (Private Event)
Othello is considered by many to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. An epic tale of political and personal intrigue, it depicts a great leader exploited by his own lieutenant, to disastrous effect. The best villains can always find the chink in a hero’s armor, and when they do, it leads to some of the best scenes in any drama. By turns shocking and profound, Othello depicts the pitfalls of jealousy and self-doubt, and how these faults can tear apart the best of us from within.
Jason J. Little, most recently seen onstage with the Festival in King Lear, leads the all local cast as Othello. Courtney Bailey (2021 Confluence Regional Playwright) appears as Desdemona, Charlie Barron as Iago, Ricki Franklin as Emilia, and previous educational touring casting members Hannah Geisz (featured in 2020 production of Cymbeline) as Roderigo, and Jesse Muñoz (2018 Romeo & Juliet) as Cassio round out the company of six.
The creative team for Othello includes designers Laura Skroska (Production Designer), Vanessa Tabourne (Costume Design), Rusty Wandall (Sound Design), Erik Kuhn (Fight Choreography) and the Festival’s tour manager since 2011, Emily Clinger.
Performances are free and open to the public and begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday from August 3-29. Performances are 90 minutes long. All ages are welcome. Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets. Visit www.stlshakes.org for more information.
Othello is funded by Bayer Fund, Arts Midwest, and the Saigh Foundation. Specific stops on the Tour were supported by Commerce Bank, Dr. Debbie A. Depew, Michael & JiaMin Dierberg, Eric and Mary Koestner, LinkStL, Ed & Tedi Macias, Mary Nigh at RedKey Realty Leaders, Straub’s, Thompson Coburn LLP and UMB Bank.
The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival strives to foster community and joy across the St. Louis region through the Shakespearean tradition of art for all. Since 2001, the Festival has grown from producing a single production of Shakespeare in the Park to a year-round season of impactful programming in exciting and accessible venues throughout the bi-state area. Artistic and education programs reach over
50,000 patrons and students each season and have served over one million since 2001. In 2020, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg News featured the Festival’s stand-out virtual and in-person programs.
Adam Flores is an actor, director, producer and educator based in St. Louis for over a decade. He holds an MFA in directing from Baylor University, and a BFA and teaching certification from Fontbonne University. As an actor, he has performed with over a dozen local professional companies including the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis as part of the Shakespeare in the Streets program in both New World and Blow, Winds. As a founding resident artist of Mustard Seed Theatre he worked in many capacities including helping produce and direct “Bosnian American: The Dance for Life,” a community-engaged project with the Bosnian community of St. Louis. In 2015, Flores acted as a local line producer for the “Every 28 Hour Plays” a collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the One-Minute Play Festival, and the St. Louis community in response to the Ferguson movement. He began as a theatre educator teaching in the Parkway School district. Later he was Assistant Professor of Theatre at Fontbonne University. He recently also was lead Teaching Artist for the Festival’s Shake 101 teaching residency for the past two years
TourCo’s inaugural production of Othello will visit 24 parks and gathering spaces across Missouri and Illinois in August.
AUG 3 – 29 • 6:30p • TUE – SUN
Directed by Adam Flores
Starring Jason J. Little, Courtney Bailey, Charlie Barron, Ricki Franklin, Hannah Geisz & Jesse Muñoz.
The 90-minute adaptation will feature Courtney Bailey (Desdemona), Charlie Barron (Iago), Ricki Franklin (Emilia), Hannah Geisz (Roderigo), Jason J. Little (Othello) and Jesse Muñoz (Cassio).
All performances begin at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. These shows are free, no reservations or tickets are required. Bring your own chairs, blankets and pack a picnic to meet your friends and neighbors around the corner or find a park in a new spot on the tour to explore. Join us for more free Shakespeare in the Park! Learn more at stlshakes.org/othello
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.