May 23, 2011

Ernest vs. Ernest

A Tony Award at the lounge of the American Airlines Theatre where I saw Roundabout's revival of The Importance of Being Earnest. I enjoyed the film version with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett, but it's an even bigger treat to finally see Oscar Wilde's famous satire on stage. Its rapier wit kept me in stitches. And although it wasn't a sold-out performance, I was happy that I watched it with highschool students who also were laughing out loud.
Waiting at the lounge before the house opened.

The hilarious show was directed by Tony-nominated Brian Bedford who stars as the tyrannical Lady Bracknell. To complete the delightful cast, we have Jayne Houdyshell as Miss Prism, Brian Murray as Rev. Chasuble, Jessie Austrian as Gwendolyn Fairfax, Charlotte Parry as Cecily Cardew. Santino Fontana as Algernon Moncrieff and David Furr as John Worthing are the dueling Ernests. It was nice to see Mr. Fontana, who I recognized as the original Tony on Billy Elliot, in a completely different role as a dapper gentleman with a fondness for bunburying and sweets. The entire cast looked like they were having the time of their lives.
But of course, Mr. Bedford gets the most credit for his tremendous cross-dressing performance as the domineering, silly Lady Bracknell. With a steely-eyed glance, a raised eyebrow, a lowered voice, he subtly conveys her iron handed ways as staunch keeper of Victorian England's social standings and customs.
Its Broadway run has been extended to 3 July 2011, giving you plenty of time to see what makes this clever farce Mr. Wilde's most popular play.
A full, unedited performance of the show will be broadcast in HD in movie theaters worldwide from the 2nd to the 28th of June. The screening includes a backstage tour with David Hyde Pierce.

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