Produced by Julie and Robert Borchard-Young for BY Experience, Susan A. Loewenberg for LA Theatre Works and Harold Wolpert for the Roundabout Theatre Company, The Importance of Being Earnest ... Oscar Wilde's comedy of manners, shines beautifully after over a hundred years. The words are brought to life by a finely tuned cast with Brian Bedford at the helm as well as playing the completely genuine Oh So Upper Class Lady Bracknell.
As an ensemble, the excellent cast performs without flaw and should have been mentioned initially:
Jayne Houdyshell (Miss Prism)
Brian Murray (Rev. Canon Chasuble)
Jessie Austrian (Gwendolen Fairfax)
David Furr (John Worthing)
Paul O'Brien (Lane)
Charlotte Parry (Cecily Cardew)
Tim MacDonald (Merriman)
Amanda Leigh Cobb (Servant)
Desmond Heeley (Set & Costume Design)
All tech credits are professional. Seeing the play in high definition, certainly, is not 'being there' but the experience is very impressive. David Hyde Pierce hosts an interview with Bedford that may have played better after the show itself. Ditto for a glimpse of the actor's transformation to Bracknell at the intermission. I prefer the illusion first and then the insights. It was a little like a magician showing the audience how she does the trick and then performing it. Too broad an analogy, but you get the idea.
Regardless, please find your way to the UCLA James Bridges Theatre (see below) or to other venues listed below for the ongoing HD performances. The play simply works. Bedford's broad strokes resound like listening to a favorite tune that one is happy to hear again and again. The sparkling wit of Wilde as he explores the issues of Class and Love in Victorian England is as fresh as it must have been in 1895.
Kudos to All Concerned for this bright idea to bring the Broadway stage to the country, indeed the whole world. Sitting in a theatre with a full audience, sharing the show with the New York audience is almost like being there. Video direction by David Stern is unobtrusive and though Bedford's staging has actors pictured at wide angles from time to time, closeups provide subtle insights that we would never see from the balcony.
The opening night audience at UCLA thoroughly enjoyed the show, as did I.
See the trailer at www.EarnestHD.com
Normally, I'll keep my reviews relatively succinct. At the request of the Roundabout Theatre Company the information for the entire series of these special HD Events is listed below. Feel free to copy and paste to friends, relatives and colleagues across the country, in foreign lands where the electricity may still be working and anywhere in the Universe they may roam.
Roundabout Theatre Company, L.A. Theatre Works and BY Experience
Announce dates & venues for international high-definition screenings
Roundabout Theatre Company’s acclaimed Broadway production of
Oscar Wilde’s comedy
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Directed by and starring Brian Bedford
Global screenings begin on June 2, 2011
Hosted by David Hyde Pierce!
To view the HD trailer visit: www.EarnestHD.com
Roundabout Theatre Company, L.A. Theatre Works and BY Experience are thrilled to announce dates and venues for the upcoming screening of Roundabout’s critically acclaimed Broadway production of Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and starring Brian Bedford.
The Importance of Being Earnest: Live in HD will screen across the U.S. and internationally on Thursday, June 2, 2011 and varying dates through June 28. Digitally equipped movie theaters and performing arts centers throughout the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, and throughout Europe have signed on to host special screenings.
This high-definition event brings the best of Broadway to movie audiences, and includes the added bonus of host David Hyde Pierce taking viewers backstage for special behind-the-scenes peek! Mr. Hyde Pierce says: “This delightful production of Earnest shouldn't be missed, and for the people who can't see it on Broadway, Broadway is coming to them.”
Oscar Wilde expert Michael Hackett and actor Alfred Molina will discuss the writer and the man in an intermission special.
The Importance of Being Earnest: Live in HD was captured live in high-definition from Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd St.) and features the original cast of this new Broadway production.
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.
A full list of participating cinemas, exhibition dates and ticket prices is available at www.EarnestHD.com. New venues will continue to be added.
U.S.VENUE & DATE INFORMATION:
The Loft Theater (Tuscon, AZ) – June 5
Phoenix Art Museum (Phoenix, AZ) – June 12
Downtown Independent (Los Angeles, CA) – June 9
The Gaslamp (San Diego, CA) – June 22, 23
James Bridges Theater at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA) – June 2, 5, 23, 26
La Mirada Theatre (La Mirada, CA) – June 26
Lark Theater (Larkspur, CA) – June 6
Mann Theatre (Hollywood, CA) – June 2, 7
Rialto Cinema Cerrito (El Cerrito, CA) – June 2, 13
Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (Berkeley, CA) – June 2, 7
Rialto Cinemas Sixth Street Playhouse (Santa Rosa, CA) – June 7, 14
Sierra Cinemas (Grass Valley, CA) – June 8
Sundance Kabuki (San Francisco, CA) – June 12, 13
Colorado Mountain College (Breckenridge, CO) – June 2
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (Old Saybrook, CT) – June 7
Quick Center for the Arts (Fairfield, CT) – June 4, 10
Douglass Theatre (Macon, GA) – June 5, 19
Kahala 8 Theater (Honolulu, HI) – June 16, 19
McKendree University (Lebanon, IL) – June 2
Music Box Theater (Chicago, IL) – June 9, 12
Notre Dame Browning Cinema (Notre Dame, IN) – June 28
The Grand Auditorium (Ellsworth, ME) – June TBC
The Lincoln Theater (Damariscotta, ME) – June 2
The Strand (Rockland, ME) – June 2, 5, 7
Avalon Theatre (Easton, MD) – June 2
Amherst Cinema (Amherst, MA) – June 2, 18, 21, 26
Cape Cinema (Dennis, MA) – June 2
Coolidge Corner (Boston, MA) – June 2
Julie Harris Stage (Wellfleet, MA) – June 4, 11, 18, 25
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (Great Barrington, MA) – June 9
Shalin Liu Performance Center (Rockport, MA) – June 5
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, MA) – June 18
Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor, MI) – June 2
Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis, MN) – June 6
Tivoli Cinemas (Kansas City, MO) – June 13, 19
Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center (Lincoln, NE) – June 9, 12
Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth (Hanover, NH) – June 24, 25
The Music Hall (Portsmouth, NH) – June 2
Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ) – June 4
The Lensic (Santa Fe, NM) – June 2
Taos Community Auditorium (Taos, NM) – June 8, 17
Cinema Arts Center (Huntington, NY) – June 2
Cinema 123 (New York, NY) – June 2, 5
Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, NY) – June 22
John Drew Theater at Guild Hall (East Hampton, NY) – June 2
Kew Gardens Cinemas (Queens, NY) – June 2 two showings
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (New York, NY) – June 11
Spectrum 8 Theatres (Albany, NY) – June 2, 5, 12, 13
Staller Center, SUNY Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY) – June 2
Time & Space Limited (Hudson, NY) – June 2, 4, 11, 12
Hanesbrands Theatre (Winston-Salem, NC) – June TBC
Lumina Theater at UNCW (Wilmington, NC) – June 2
Sunrise Theater (Southern Pines, NC) – June 2 two showings
Cedar Lee Theatre (Cleveland Height, OH) – June 22, 26
Circle Cinema (Tulsa, OK) – June 9
Newport Performing Arts Center (Newport, OR) – June 24
Third Rail Rep at the World Trade Center Theater (Portland, OR) – June 2, 12
Allentown Symphony Hall (Allentown, PA) – June 2, 10
Ambler Theater (Ambler, PA) – June 2, 5, 12
Bryn Mawr Film Institute (Bryn Mawr, PA) – June 2, 5
County Theater (Doylestown, PA) – June 2, 5
Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center at Mercyhurst College (Erie, PA) – June 2
Oaks Theater (Oakmont, PA) – June 2, 5
Jane Pickens Theater, Event Center (Newport, RI) – June 2
Paradiso Cinema (Memphis, TN) – June 12, 14
Angelika Film Center (Dallas, TX) – June 8, 9
Angelika Film Center (Plano, TX) – June 12, 14
Catamount Arts (St. Johnsbury, VT) - June 2, 4
Town Hall Theater/Opera Company (Middlebury, VT) – June 12
The Paramount Theater (Charlottesville, VA) – June 4 two showings
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sidney Harman Hall (Washington, DC) – June 28
The Lincoln Theater (Mount Vernon, WA) – June 2, 12
Rose Theatre (Port Townsend, WA) – June 4, 11, 12, 18
SIFF Cinema (Seattle, WA) – June 2, 5
Sundance Cinemas (Madison, WI) – June 25, 27
The Importance of Being Earnest: Live in HD cast features the original company of this new Broadway production featuring 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,” Sara Topham as “Gwendolen Fairfax” and Amanda Leigh Cobb as “Servant.” The design team includes Desmond Heeley (Sets & Costumes), Duane Schuler (Lights) and Drew Levy (Sound).
Elysa Gardner of USA Today says “Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of Wilde’s most famous play is delightful! Bedford proves a perfect fit for Earnest's juiciest character”. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times says: “The great actor Brian Bedford is brilliant in this funny and effervescent production. It’s one of the great performances of the season; to miss it would most definitely look like carelessness.” Scott Brown of NY Magazine says Earnest is “Funny as hell!” And Charles Spencer of the London Telegraph exclaims: “Brian Bedford’s production is the finest ‘Importance’ I have ever seen.”
The Importance of Being Earnest: Live in HD was filmed and is being distributed to movie theaters and performing arts centers globally by New York-based BY Experience.
Executive Producers for cinema are Julie Borchard-Young and Robert Borchard-Young for BY Experience, Susan A. Loewenberg for L.A. Theatre Works, and Harold Wolpert for Roundabout Theatre Company.
Lead funding for this project is provided by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation.
Due to demand, the critically acclaimed Broadway engagement of The Importance of Being Earnest was extended 17-weeks through Sunday, July 3rd, 2011. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival presented an acclaimed production of The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and starring Brian Bedford, in 2009.
BROADWAY TICKET INFORMATION:
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). Ticket prices range from $72.00-122.00.
To become a Roundabout subscriber visit www.roundabouttheatre.org or call Roundabout Ticket Services (212)719-1300.
The Importance of Being Earnest plays Tuesday evenings at 7:00PM, Wednesday through Saturday evening at 8:00PM with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00PM.
ABOUT ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY:
Roundabout Theatre Companyis a not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing a nurturing artistic home for theatre artists at all stages of their careers where the widest possible audience can experience their work at affordable prices. Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the revival of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established playwrights and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate loyal audiences.
Roundabout Theatre Companycurrently 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 City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties; and the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC and the City of New York.
Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2010-2011 season features Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring and directed by Brian Bedford; Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore starring Olympia Dukakis, directed by Michael Wilson; Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster & Joel Grey, directed & choreographed by Kathleen Marshall; David West Read’s The Dream of the Burning Boy, directed by Evan Cabnet; Dart, Stoller, Butler’s The People in the Picture, starring Donna Murphy, directed by Leonard Foglia; Stone, Meehan & Yeston’s Death Takes a Holiday, directed by Doug Hughes.
Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2011-2012 will feature Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, directed by Graciela Daniele; Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet, directed by Peter DuBois; John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, directed by Sam Gold.
ABOUT L.A. THEATRE WORKS:
L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) has been recording award-winning audio versions of stage plays, musicals, and novels for nearly three decades. Founded in 1974, LATW, under the leadership of Producing Director, Susan Albert Loewenberg, is a non-profit theatre and media arts organization which marries innovative forms of technology with timeless and compelling stories. LATW's long-running weekly radio show, L.A. Theatre Works, is heard on NPR stations nationwide, and its unprecedented collection of over 400 recordings is available in thousands of libraries, via iTunes, Amazon, in bookstores and direct from LATW.org. Plays are recorded in front of live audiences (The Play's the Thing) with America's top actors as well as in the studio, and the company tours nationally with its radio-style productions. L.A. Theatre Works recordings are made available for secondary education (Alive & Aloud, for middle and high schools) and to under-served communities (Library Access), and now to higher education through its recently launched The Play's the Thing for Higher Education project, a digital database of plays indexed for use in scholarly research and college and university instruction.
Recent recordings include Lucy Prebble’s Enron, starring Steven Weber, Greg Germann & Amy Pietz, directed by Rosalind Ayres; Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, starring Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton and Missy Yager, directed by Mark Brokaw; Terry Johnson’s The Graduate, starring Kathleen Turner and Matthew Rhys, directed by John Rubinstein; Tartuffe starring Brian Bedford, directed by Rosalind Ayres; Arcadia starring Kate Burton, Peter Paige, Gregory Itzin, directed by John Rubinstein; Jon Robin Baitz’s The Paris Letter, starring Ron Rifkin, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor and Patricia Wettig, directed by Peter Levin; and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun, starring Judyann Elder, Corey Hawkins and Rutina Wesley, directed by Lou Bellamy.
ABOUT BY EXPERIENCE:
BY Experience kicked off the digital revolution of live events to movie theaters and other locations globally with David Bowie’s 2003 Reality album launch and since then, nearly 10 million tickets have been sold worldwide for events BY Experience has distributed and/or produced. BY Experience introduced the live in cinema concept to the Metropolitan Opera, and from conception of the Live in HD series in 2006 to the present, has served as the Met’s Worldwide HD Distribution Representative. In 2009, BY Experience began working with the U.K.’s National Theatre as International (ex-UK) Distribution Representative for National Theatre Live, now in its second season. BY Experience teamed up with The New York Times on its speaker’s series, TimesTalks LIVE for select cinema events with authors John Irving and Steven King, and the creators of ABC’s hit series Lost (2009 - 2010). Additionally, BY Experience has produced, distributed, and executive produced several highly successful unique one off events for cinemas, including the public radio shows A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor (February and October 2010) and This American Life – Live! with Ira Glass (April 2008 and May 2009), several high profile concerts includingThe Big Four: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax (June 2010), BBC Electric Proms: Robbie Williams (October 2009), David Gilmour: Remember That Night — Live from the Royal Albert Hall (September 2007), and the classic music celebrations BBC Last Night of the Proms (September 2009 and September 2010). For more information, visit: www.byexperience.net
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