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IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST’s Desmond Heeley in WSJ

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

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

January 8, 2011

 

NY CULTURE

 

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’

 

By PIA CATTON

 

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

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IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST’s Bedford in NY Times

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

By BEN BRANTLEY

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

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST featured in Daily News

Roundabout’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST begins previews tonight on Broadway with an official opening on January 13th, 2011 at the American Airlines Theatre (227 W42nd St.).

The Daily News
December 17, 2010

 

The Importance of Being Earnest

Brian Bedford pulls off ‘Earnest’ performance dressed as Lady Bracknell

Joe Dziemianowicz

The dude looks like a lady.

 

Make that Lady, as in Lady Bracknell, the formidable Victorian gentlewoman in Oscar Wilde‘s witty satire “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

 

That thought occurs to you, looking at pictures of Brian Bedford wearing an ornate red frock and hat as the authoritarian aristocrat in a new Broadway production of the 1895 play. The show launches tonight at the American Airlines Theatre.

 

But the 75-year-old English actor, who also directs the Roundabout Theatre Company revival running through March 6, would prefer audiences concentrate on the words in the bon mot-dusted comedy of mistaken identities, not on cross-dressing. “La Cage aux Folles” this isn’t.

 

“The novelty aspect of a man playing Lady B. could be distracting and actually damaging to the audience’s experience of this great play,” says Bedford. “So the challenge is to make her absolutely real and as dimensional as possible, with no hint of transvestitism. I’ve tried very hard to do that.” Continue reading

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST begins previews tonight 12/17

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY

PREVIEWS BEGIN TONIGHT, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17!

Brian Bedford

Directs & Stars in

By Oscar Wilde

With

Paxton Whitehead

Santino Fontana, David Furr, Tim MacDonald, Paul O’Brien, Charlotte Parry, Sara Topham

And

Dana Ivey

Opening night is January 13th, 2011

On Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) is proud to present a new Broadway production of Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and starring Brian Bedford as “Lady Bracknell.” 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 will begin previews on Friday, December 17th, 2010 and open officially on Thursday, January 13th, 2011.   This is a limited engagement through Sunday, March 6th, 2011. Continue reading

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST announces full company & opening date

Tickets now on sale!

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY

Announces the Full Company & Opening Night Date

Brian Bedford

Directs & Stars in

a new Broadway production of

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

By Oscar Wilde

With

Paxton Whitehead

Santino Fontana, David Furr, Tim MacDonald, Paul O’Brien, Charlotte Parry, Sara Topham

And

Dana Ivey

Previews begin Friday, December 17th, 2010

Opening night will be Thursday, January 13th, 2011

at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) is pleased to announce the full company of the 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 will also feature Dana Ivey as “Miss Prism,” Paxton Whitehead as “Reverend Chausible,” Santino Fontana as “Algernon Moncrieff,” David Furr as “Jack Worthing,” Tim MacDonald as “Merriman,” Paul O’Brien as “Lane,” Charlotte Parry as “Cecily Cardew,” and Sara Topham as “Gwendolyn.”

The Importance of Being Earnest will begin previews on Friday, December 17th, 2010 and open 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 Stratford Shakespeare Festival presented an acclaimed production of The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and starring Brian Bedford, in 2009.

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.

Brian Bedford returns to Roundabout Theatre Company after memorable performances as “Orgon” in Tartuffe, “Sir Harcourt Courtly” in London Assurance and “Sganarelle” in The Molière Comedies. Dana Ivey returns to Roundabout after playing “Grace” in the 2003 production of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and the 2001 production of Major Barbara where she played “Lady Britomart Undershaft.”

Continue reading

Roundabout announces THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST in winter 2011

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
Announces
 
Tony Award® winner
Brian Bedford Will Direct & Star in
a new Broadway production of

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

By Oscar Wilde

Performances begin in winter 2011

On Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre
 
Click here for a Q&A with Artistic Director Todd Haimes about the production. <http://www.myroundaboutblog.com/?p=1617>

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) is pleased to announce and welcome back

Tony Award® winner Brian Bedford in Oscar Wilde’s comic play The Importance of Being Earnest.  

Directed by and starring Brian Bedford as “Lady Bracknell,” the production will begin in winter 2011 at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd Street). This will be a limited engagement.   

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival produced a production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 2009 directed by and starring Brian Bedford.

Additional cast members and the creative team will be announced shortly.

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.

Brian Bedford returns to Roundabout Theatre Company after memorable performances as “Orgon” in Tartuffe, “Sir Harcourt Courtly” in London Assurance and “Sganarelle” in The Molière Comedies <http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=6182> .

TICKET INFORMATION:
Only Roundabout subscribers have first access to tickets!  Sign up for Roundabout’s email club at http://www.roundabouttheatre.org <http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/>  to be the first to hear when packages are available.  Single Tickets will be available to the general public in the fall of 2010.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
The Importance of Being Earnest
will play Tuesday through Saturday evening at 8:00PM with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00PM.  
 
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival presented an acclaimed production of The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and starring Brian Bedford, in 2009.
 
BRIAN BEDFORD (Director, Lady Bracknell).  One of the most acclaimed actors of our time, Brian Bedford studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where his classmates included Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Alan Bates.  At age 21, he played Hamlet for the Liverpool Repertory Company, which led to highly successful performances in London’s West End and at Stratford-upon-Avon, working with, among others, Sir John Gielgud and Peter Brook.  Gielgud’s productions of Peter Shaffer’s first play, Five Finger Exercise, brought him to Broadway, where he has subsequently starred in over 20 productions, receiving six Tony nominations for Best Actor and winning the award for Moliére’s The School for Wives. Other honors include the Obie, Outer Critics Circle Award, N.Y. Drama Desk Award and the L.A. Drama Critics Award.  Mr. Bedford has directed and acted at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and, for over 27 seasons, at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada.  His one-man Shakespeare show The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet and his Oscar Wilde evening Ever Yours, Oscar have taken him around the world.  Mr. Bedford has made numerous appearances on television and film, and supplied the voice of the title character in Walt Disney’s Robin Hood.  A resident of North America for the past 50 years, in 1997 he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.  
Roundabout Theatre Company is one of the country’s leading not-for-profit theatres.  The company contributes invaluably to New York’s cultural life by staging the highest quality revivals of classic plays and musicals as well as new plays by established writers. Roundabout consistently partners great artists with great works to bring a fresh and exciting interpretation that makes each production relevant and important to today’s audiences.

Roundabout Theatre Company currently produces at three permanent homes each of which is designed specifically to enhance the needs of the Roundabout’s mission.  Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design is perfectly suited to showcasing new plays. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics.  Roundabout’s Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions.  Together these three distinctive venues serve to enhance the work on each of its stages.

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts; and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  

Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2009-2010 season includes Noël Coward’s Present Laughter starring Victor Garber, directed by Nicholas Martin; Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sondheim on Sondheim starring Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams and Tom Wopat; Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, directed by Gordon Edelstein; Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, starring Megan Mullally, Patton Oswalt and Lil Taylor, directed by Joe Mantello. Roundabout’s sold out production of The 39 Steps begins an off-Broadway run in March 2010 after two successful years on Broadway.

http://www.roundabouttheatre.org <http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/>
 
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