Broadway Features and Reviews
Oscar Wilde Gem Returns To Broadway
By Ella Robinson, Broadway Magazine
A hundred and fifteen years after it's premiere on the St. James Theater stage in London, The Importance of Being Earnest is set to appear on Broadway. From the famed and troubled playwright Oscar Wilde comes a story filled with mistaken identities and intrigue, sure to wow audiences both on and off Broadway as it has for over a century.
Written by a man whose life was made for the stage (a life filled with forbidden homosexual relationships, imprisonment, and eventual exile) this incredibly influential play was Wilde's masterpiece, and showcased the talent that he had learned to develop over the course of his life. The opening night was Wilde's last triumph before his popularity started to decline, and marked the last high point of his career.
This particular run of performances will be headed by Tony award winner Brian Bedford, who will both direct and appear as Lady Bracknell. First performed in 1895 at the Empire Theater, The Importance of Being Earnest is a much-loved slice of Broadway history. This will be the eighth revival, and it will be Bedford's job to make it unique and memorable, with the ability to appeal to the 21st century crowd. According to critics, who have praised the show's first run in Ontario, this is not an impossible task.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times writes, "despite its brilliantly filigreed plot and rich trove of perverse apercus, The Importance of Being Earnest can be heavy going in lesser performances, its cascading witticisms coming across as freeze-dried and familiar…but Mr. Bedford and his cast give it a bright bloom, for the most part delivering the ornate language with a purifying gleam that makes it sing".
Although Wilde is perhaps a touch outdated compared with other hot productions in New York, the response to Bedford's work has been incredibly positive, commending both Bedford and the surrounding cast members. Terry Teachout, another reviewer of the play's first run in Ontario, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that states "instead of galloping through their lines at the breakneck speed of farce, the cast strolls unhurriedly from scene to scene, giving Wilde's double-edged epigrams plenty of time to seek and destroy their satirical targets".
Because this has been such a successful comedy in the past despite the competition, it should be expected that the upcoming production on Broadway will be one to remember.
The Importance of Being Earnest will be playing at the American Airlines Theater in the winter of 2011; the rest of the cast is yet to be determined. This is a limited engagement, so be sure to catch it while you can!
For more on Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, and the rest of the Broadway season, be sure to take a look at the pages of Broadway Magazine. Also, look for ticket information, reviews, show video and more all here on Broadway.tv.
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