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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