Oak Park Festival Theatre's THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Begins Tonight

Oak Park Festival Theatre's THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Begins Tonight

As the second production of its gala fortieth season, Oak Park Festival Theatre (the Midwest's oldest professional outdoor classical theatre) presents comedy's crown jewel, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Playwright Oscar Wilde subtitled his delicious diversion, "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People." It sparkles with his most brilliant epigrams, bedazzles with his brilliant, biting bon mots, and glitters with his glorious absurdities. This is side-splitting satire in the most elegant and stylish incarnation.

But beneath the bespoke tailored surface there is always the unavoidable truth: truth that Wilde noted is "never pure and rarely simple." Indeed, although written at the zenith of his fame, this was to be Wilde's last play. Within weeks of its premiere, that fame turned to infamy and Wilde went from being the toast of London society to being Prisoner C33.

Directing Wilde's masterpiece is Oak Park Festival Artistic Associate, Kevin Theis. Most recently seen onstage at OPFT as Salieri in last season's record shattering Amadeus, Theis has also appeared in OPFT's acclaimed Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (for which he received a Jefferson Nomination for Best Actor), Faith Healer, Richard III, and Of Mice and Men.

"The list of perfect plays is very, very short," says Theis. "But, among them simply must be, The Importance of Being Earnest, which has not merely stood the test of time but has proven, time and again, to be the crown jewel of comedic achievements. Jack, Algernon, Gwendolyn, Cecily, Chasuble, Prism and the unflappable and legendary Lady Bracknell are indelible and iconic figures in the English speaking theatre. My approach is straightforward: serve the play and the author, give the actors all the tools they need to bring this magnificent show to life and then...get out of the way. We are doing the show in the period it was written (because I'm a rebel!) with a female Lady Bracknell (ditto) and I am fascinated to see how it plays in the park. I have little doubt it will shine as brightly as ever."

The Importance of Being Earnest - Cast
Belinda Bremner* (Lady Bracknell), John Crosthwaite (Jack), Brooke Hebert (Cecily), Elise Kauzlaric (Gwendolyn), Jackson McLaughlin (Merriman), Mark Richard* (Chasuble), Brian Rooney (Lane), Jude Willis (Algernon) & Lynda Shadrake (Prism)

*Member of Actors' Equity Association - the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers

Production Dates & Location
Previews tonight, July 24 & Friday, July 25
Opening Night Saturday, July 26 at 8:00 pm

Performances July 26-August 23, 2013.
Thursday - Saturday 8 pm/Sundays 7 pm.
Plus Wednesday August 20 at 8pm

Both productions are performed outdoors in Austin Gardens, 167, Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60301

Production Designers
Set Designer: Richard and Jacqueline Penrod of Penrod Design
Lighting Designer: David Friedman
Costume Designer: Rachel Sypniewski
Props Designer: Jesse Gaffney
Sound Designer/Composer: Joshua Dumas

Ticket Prices & Availability
General Admission Tickets $27 - Seniors $22 - Students $15 - Children under 12 & dogs free

Special Preview Ticket Pricing - General Admission & Seniors $20 - Students $15 - Children under 12 & dogs free

Tickets available online at oakparkfestival.com or by visiting the Oak Park Visitor Center - 1010 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois 60301.

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