THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST: TWO WAYS
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Stephen Burdman
New York Classical Theatre (Stephen Burdman, Artistic Director), New York City’s all-free Off-Broadway equity theatre company, will bring back its critically acclaimed production of Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest: Two Ways for a tour of three New York City parks. The production, which is the centerpiece of NY Classical’s 20th Anniversary season, will play in Central Park from May 28-June 16, Brooklyn Bridge Park from June 18-23, and Carl Schurz Park from June 25-30, as the perfect summer entertainment for Pride Month in New York City.
Regarded as one of the great comedies in the English language, Wilde’s 1895 classic is a satire of social manners and obligations in Victorian England. In NY Classical’s production, the entire cast swaps roles (and genders) at every other performance to explore the power dynamics in the script. The Importance of Being Earnest: Two Ways, directed by Stephen Burdman, will be presented with conventional casting for performances on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and reversed gender casting for performances on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The cast features Ademide Akintilo (Shakespeare's Globe’s A Midsummer Night's Dream) as Algernon/Cecily, Kristen Calgaro (NY Classical’s Much Ado About Nothing) as Gwendolen/Jack, Connie Castanzo (NY Classical’s Romeo & Juliet) as Cecily/Algernon, Jed Peterson (CHEERS: Live On Stage) as Jack/Gwendolen, Kate Goehring (Angels in America National Tour) as Lady Bracknell/Merriman, John Michalski (Martin Luther on Trial) as Merriman/Lady Bracknell, Tina Stafford (Once National Tour) as Miss Prism/Dr. Chasuble, and Clay Storseth (Moscow) as Dr. Chasuble/Miss Prism.
The production recently completed a critically acclaimed limited engagement at A.R.T./New York Theatres. Theatre journalist and critic Jose Solis called the production “absolutely enchanting. Both the traditional version and the reverse gender version are equally hilarious and illuminate Wilde’s text in refreshing ways.” TheatreScene.net raved, “All of the enduring pleasures of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy are to be joyously experienced anew or for the first time in director Stephen Burdman’s wondrous dual productions of The Importance of Being Earnest. A frothy delight faithfully affirming Wilde’s insightful wit and supreme dramatic construction through theatrical magnificence.” StageBuddy cheered the production’s “outrageous hilarity. The comedy rolls along at a sleek pace, with one clever witticism following hard on the heels of another. Of course, it helps to have a good cast, and the NY Classical cast plays Wilde’s masterful comedy with smooth decorum.”