It's been over 33 years since Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest was last revived on the Great White Way. But finally, months after first being announced as part of Roundabout Theatre Company's 2010-11 Season, further details have emerged regarding the latest, overdue revival.
Up until yesterday, all we knew was that Brian Bedford would reprise his turn doing double duty directing and starring as Lady Bracknell. Bedford's production of this social farce involving mistaken identities and love was first performed north of the border at Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2009.
On Thursday, further casting was announced for the play Wilde subtitled A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. The revival will include Dana Ivey as Miss Prism, Santino Fontana as Algernon Moncrieff, David Furr as John Worthing, Tim MacDonald as Merriman, Paul O'Brien as Lane, Charlotte Parry as Cecily Cardew, Sara Topham as Gwendolyn Fairfax, and Paxton Whitehead as Reverend Canon Chasuble.
Roundabout's upcoming production will mark the eighth Broadway revival for the comedy first produced in 1895 and then again in 1902, both at the Empire Theatre. While Bedford is not the first male actor to portray Lady Bracknell, he is the first on Broadway, following a long line of actresses including Estelle Winwood (1936), Margaret Rutherford (1947) and Elizabeth Wilson (1977).
Perhaps the most revered Broadway revival of Wilde's classic work came from stage icon John Gielgud, who initially directed and starred as John Worthing in a British version staged in 1939. It took him eight more years (and World War II) before he mounted his 1947 revival on Broadway in which every cast member earned the Tony Award for Outstanding Foreign Company.
The Importance Of Being Earnest will begin previews at the American Airlines Theatre on December 17, with an opening date set for January 13, 2011. The limited run is currently scheduled to close on March 6, 2011.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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