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Critics love The Importance of Being Earnest! Read the reviews.






Read all the reviews!


Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring and directed by Brian Bedford.   The Importance of Being Earnest is playing at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd St) in a limited engagement through March 6, 2011.

NEW YORK TIMES by Ben Brantley

The Importance of Being Astonished

“Mr. Bedford is perhaps the finest English-language interpreter of classical comedy of his generation, and he seems to pick up a Tony nomination every time he steps on a Broadway stage.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/theater/09bedford.html?_r=1&ref=theater

NEW YORK TIMES by Charles Isherwood

A Stylish Monster Conquers at a Glance

“Within seconds of sweeping onstage, and with a wordless gesture as funny as it is subtle, the great actor Brian Bedford proves beyond question that gender is of no importance whatsoever in portraying the imposing Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s greatest comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” …. It’s one of the great performances of the season; to miss it would most definitely look like carelessness.”

Full review: http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/theater/reviews/14importance.html



Brian Bedford proves Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is never a drag

“The sure sign of a good actress is that you forget, over the course of two hours, that the woman you are seeing is, in fact, a man. Such is the case with Brian Bedford, who has adopted Lady Bracknell’s haughty sensibility and her stern Victorian gowns in a terrific new Roundabout Theatre Company production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” that opened Thursday.”

Full review: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12612595&page=2


An Absolutely Perfect (and Important) Earnest

“Each jewel of wit is polished apple-bright, and every performer is playing in the same key. Forget literary interpretation, forget clenched internal acting: There’s great damned musicianship here, and the joy of sheer comic virtuosity. For this we must thank, again, Brian Bedford, who pulls off actor-director double duty with uncommon grace. Having assembled a uniformly brilliant cast (including the great Dana Ivey as dotty governess Miss Prism, and the terrific, incipiently potbellied Fontana, who seems perpetually, girlishly overjoyed to be six months pregnant with himself), he’s free to make his Lady Bracknell the prime showpiece, not the show-saver she can become if lesser stars fill out her constellation. When Bedford’s Bracknell enters — a one-woman armada of pomp with a face like a guillotine — the world stops briefly, but the show does not. (When it comes to imbuing a single word with devastating hilarity, the actor has no equal.) To know something like scripture, as we do Earnest, and to have it feel fresh off the press; to anticipate every jape, and yet react with delightful surprise? To paraphrase Gwendolen: The suspense is terrible, not to mention funny as hell, and it lasts.” Full review: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/01/stage_dive_an_absolutely_perfe.html



“The Roundabout Theatre Company has brought to Broadway Brian Bedford’s brilliantly zany Stratford Shakespeare Festival staging of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” in which the veteran classical comedian dons wig and gown to play Lady Bracknell.  Desmond Heeley’s fantastic set, which looks like a giant marzipan sculpture by Georges Seurat, has moved to New York along with Mr. Bedford, and the new cast includes Dana Ivey and Paxton Whitehead, two of the American theater’s most trustworthy wits.”  Full review: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704803604576077791348875596.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_LifestyleArtEnt


NY1 by Roma Torre

“Brian Bedford, leading an outstanding production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”, is truly as super as it gets on Broadway.  As written, Bracknell is already over the top among the great characters in drama. Bedford’s unique gift is to supply the skin, bones and teeth to make her bitingly real. Add to that impeccable comic timing…and a legendary performance is born. Brian Bedford is easily among our finest interpreters of comedy classics. So abundant is his talent in fact, he seems to inspire that level of excellence in all who share the stage with him.”


NEW YORK POST by Elisabeth Vincentelli

The lady mans up in a wickedly Wilde revival

“In this Roundabout revival, Lady Bracknell is played by Brian Bedford. She couldn’t be in better hands.

The 75-year-old star — who also directs — is consistently funny without resorting to camp or caricature. He’s a master of the precise pause and the arched eyebrow, evoking laughter simply by dropping his voice an octave on a word. Floating onstage like a galleon in full sail (excellent costumes by Desmond Heeley), he basically plays the Gorgon straight.” Full review: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/the_lady_mans_up_in_wickedly_wilde_8iPQ8PQ0wsUPq6qrMAFiqL



“Oscar Wilde’s wittiest comedy sparkles in this Broadway production, and when its director is onstage, it delivers pure bliss.  Bedford unleashes a limitless arsenal of variations on dry disapproval and can do wonders with a pause or vocal fluctuation of a half-octave or so. Mulling whether Jack is worth adding to her list of eligible bachelors, Lady Bracknell’s grilling of him is comedy at its most sublime. But then, Bedford’s every line in this entertaining revival is a jewel.” Full review: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/importance-earnest-theater-review-71658

VARIETY by Marilyn Stasio

“It’s Brian Bedford’s party, so let’s give the old dear the rousing chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” that he’s earned as director and showpiece of the Roundabout’s revival of Oscar Wilde’s scathingly witty 1895 comedy of manners, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” All foot traffic stops, as it should, whenever Bedford is commanding center stage with the imperial presentation of Lady Bracknell he originated in 2009 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. But the thesp’s lifetime commitment to the classics (27 seasons at Stratford alone) also accounts for the technically assured craftsmanship underpinning this lavishly mounted crowdpleaser.” Full review: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944292?refcatid=33


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY by Melissa Rose Bernardo

“Bedford directed (and starred in) The Importance of Being Earnest in 2009; now he’s brought his vision, his deliciously deadpan Lady Bracknell, his set/costume designer, and his ingenue (Sara Topham) to Broadway. The result, thankfully, is a perfectly pitched, fantastically funny rendition of Oscar Wilde’s self-subtitled ”Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” A-

AM NEW YORK by Matt Windman

“Bedford, while dressed to the nines in Victorian attire, treats the character with the utmost sincerity and gentleness. This results in a brilliant performance that is just as hilarious as it is utterly convincing. Those who forget to read the Playbill might not even realize that the role is being played by a man, which is perhaps the greatest compliment that Bedford can receive.”  Full review: http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/theater-review-the-importance-of-being-earnest-4-stars-1.2607694







WOR RADIO by David Richardson

“The show stars a terrific Brian Bedford who, while also directing the show, plays Lady Bracknell to an uppercrust tee. The costumes are to die for and the three sets designed by Britain’s  famous Desmond Heeley are marvelous.  Everyone who goes will enjoy Mr. Bedford and his stodgy portrayal of a Victorian lady beyond reproach. He’s the reason you will want to see this well directed and superbly acted farce.”



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Roundabout’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST opens tonight on Broadway






Brian Bedford


Directing & Starring in a New Broadway production of


By Oscar Wilde


at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway


Opening night is tonight for Roundabout Theatre Company’s new Broadway production of Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and starring Brian Bedford as “Lady Bracknell,” at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd St.).


The cast also features Dana Ivey as “Miss Prism,” Paxton Whitehead as “Rev. Canon Chasuble,” Santino Fontana as “Algernon Moncrieff,” David Furr as “John Worthing,” Tim MacDonald as “Merriman,” Paul O’Brien as “Lane,” Charlotte Parry as “Cecily Cardew,” and Sara Topham as “Gwendolen Fairfax.”


The Importance of Being Earnest began previews on Friday, December 17th and opens officially on Thursday, January 13th, 2011. This is a limited engagement through Sunday, March 6th, 2011.


The design team includes Desmond Heeley (Sets & Costumes), Duane Schuler (Lights) and Drew Levy (Sound).


The Importance of Being Earnest is a glorious comedy of mistaken identity, which ridicules codes of propriety and etiquette.  Dashing men-about-town John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff pursue fair ladies Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew.   Matters are complicated by the imaginary characters invented by both men to cover their on-the-sly activities – not to mention the disapproval of Gwendolen’s mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell.


Wilde’s classic production premiered in 1895 at the St. James Theatre in London offering a stinging critique of love, sex and social hypocrisy that remains relevant today.



Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212)719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the American Airlines Box Office (227 West 42nd Street).


To become a Roundabout subscriber visit www.roundabouttheatre.org or call Roundabout Ticket Services (212)719-1300.  Ticket prices range from $67.00-117.00.



The Importance of Being Earnest plays Tuesday through Saturday evening at 8:00PM with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00PM.




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Roundabout’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST opens on Broadway this Thursday, January 13th at the American Airlines Theatre.


January 8, 2011




Standing Out Among the Wilde Scenery

The Crafty Touches of Desmond Heeley’s Sets Add to the Theatricality of the Upcoming ‘Importance of Being Earnest’




Wit and charm are a reliable part of Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” but the Roundabout Theatre Company’s new production has something that most do not: Desmond Heeley.

Mr. Heeley, 79, has designed sets and costumes for the world’s top theater, opera and ballet venues. In New York, his work has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera and American Ballet Theatre. In England, he has been a regular at Covent Garden, the National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as West End theaters. Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theater and Milan’s La Scala can claim him, too.


On Broadway, Mr. Heeley holds a rare distinction: In 1968, he became the first person to win the Tony Awards for costume and scenic design of the same show: Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” (Two others have duplicated the feat: Franne Lee for “Candide” in 1974, and Maria Bjornson for “The Phantom of the Opera” in 1988.)


Returning to New York for “Earnest,” which opens on Jan. 13, Mr. Heeley has created three sets—two interiors and one garden—that are transporting works of craftsmanship and illusion. Continue reading


Roundabout’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST opens on Broadway this Thursday, January 13th at the American Airlines Theatre.

The New York Times

January 9, 2011

The Importance of Being Astonished


Arts & Leisure

LADY BRACKNELL, that unbending arbiter of social correctness, would surely not approve of Brian Bedford, who portrays her in his new production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the American Airlines Theater.

It’s not just that Mr. Bedford, born to an English postal worker and an Irish factory weaver in a Yorkshire market town, grew up far from anywhere Lady Bracknell might consider a fashionable address. Her Ladyship, you see, likes people to fit snugly into categories, and Mr. Bedford is quite unclassifiable.

He is perhaps the finest English-language interpreter of classical comedy of his generation, and he seems to pick up a Tony nomination every time he steps on a Broadway stage. Yet he is as likely to be found on a cruise ship, performing a one-man show about Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde, or in Prague, in high summer, appearing in a supporting role in a traveling musical production of “A Christmas Carol,” starring Kelsey Grammer. Raised in poverty, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and subsequently part of a glittering West End clique that included John Gielgud and the all-powerful theater mogul Hugh Beaumont, Mr. Bedford, 75, now lives in Ontario, where he has been a member of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for 27 seasons. He wound up at Stratford, he says, because “while I wanted to live in America, I also wanted to have a British actor’s career.” Continue reading

Roundabout’s MILK TRAIN… begins previews tonight



Roundabout Theatre Company



By Tennessee Williams

Directed by Michael Wilson


Curtis Billings, Elisa Bocanegra, Olympia Dukakis, Edward Hibbert,

Maggie Lacey, Darren Pettie

Off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre


Preview performances begin tonight for Roundabout Theatre Company’s The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, by Tennessee Williams, directed by Michael Wilson.   The cast includes Curtis Billings (Giulio), Elisa Bocanegra (Simonetta), Olympia Dukakis (Flora Goforth), Edward Hibbert (Witch of Capri), Maggie Lacey (Frances Black), Darren Pettie (Christopher Flanders).


The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore begins previews on Friday, January 7th and the official opening is Sunday, January 30th, 2011 at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street).  This is a limited engagement through Sunday, April 3rd, 2011.


The design team includes Jeff Cowie (Sets), David C. Woolard (Costumes), Rui Rita (Lights) & John Gromada (Original Music & Sound).

In this haunting Tennessee Williams drama, Olympia Dukakis stars as Flora Goforth, a wealthy American widow.  In her picturesque Italian mountaintop home, Flora has detached from the world in order to write her memoirs. When a handsome and mysterious young visitor arrives without warning to keep Flora company in her final hours, this dreamlike play blossoms into a fascinating meditation on life and death. Continue reading

Brief Encounter on Broadway ends engagement on January 2, 2011


Roundabout Theatre Company

Noël Coward’s


Adapted and Directed by Emma Rice

Concludes limited engagement this Sunday, January 2nd at 7PM


“By the show’s end I felt enlivened, enlightened and seriously moved.”

– Ben Brantley, NY Times

“Emma Rice and her expert company will steal your heart!”

– Elysa Gardner, USA Today

on Broadway at Studio 54

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) in association with David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld say farewell to Kneehigh Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter.

Brief Encounter is now playing an extended limited engagement through Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 at Studio 54 (254 W54th St.) on Broadway.  The production played 21 previews and 119 regular performances.  CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE BRIEF ENCOUNTER VIDEO. Continue reading

Best of 2010: Roundabout Theatre Company on Top Ten Lists

Roundabout Theatre Company

(Todd Haimes, Artistic Director)

proudly recognizes the following productions acknowledged on many

Top 10 lists of the best theatre of 2010:

Brief Encounter, The Glass Menagerie, Tiger Be Still & Everyday Rapture

Noel Coward’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER, adapted and directed by Emma Rice

is a critically acclaimed limited engagement extended through January 2, 2010.


New York Times – Best Theatre 2010 round-up.

            Honorable mention goes to Brief Encounter. “Among the eight productions, I have not included this wonderful show seen on Broadway in 2010 — Brief Encounter — because it was on my list last year for its Off Broadway incarnations.” “By the show’s end I felt enlivened, enlightened and seriously moved.” – Ben Brantley. http://nyti.ms/eb2ysr


NY1 – 2010 Theater: The Best of Broadway.

            “The lushly romantic adaptation of Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter has audiences swooning.” – Roma Torre. http://bit.ly/hq2cp5 Continue reading