January 13, 2011
In 1890s London, fashionable men of leisure Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff use the same pseudonym, "Ernest," to conceal their on-the-sly activities while they pursue fair ladies Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew at the same time. Matters are complicated by the imaginary characters they have invented for their schemes—not to mention the disapproval of Gwendolen’s mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell.
Wilde’s witty comedy—the full title of which is The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People—set out to mock the mores and social customs of the Victorian era, with the institution of marriage and the pursuit of love as particular targets.
Earnest was first performed in February of 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London. It opened on Broadway in April of that same year, and it has been performed on Broadway eight times since. The current production began life at Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2009 before transferring to the American Airlines Theatre with many of the original cast members attached, including Brian Bedford doing double duty as director and actor, in the role of Lady Bracknell.
Roundabout Theatre Company
—Broadway.com Audience Award nomination for Favorite Play Revival
—Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play
—Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play
—Drama League nomination for Distinguished Revival of a Play
The play has been seen nine times on Broadway, but this production is the first to have a male actor playing Lady Bracknell.