Who's the most celebrated, honored and feted dramatist this side of Shakespeare? Why, Oscar Wilde, of course, whose work has been kept alive in recent years by lectures, readings, films, plays and tributes, from high profile revivals of The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband to the film "Wilde" to plays based on his life such as Gross Indecency and The Judas Kiss.
A new Wilde series, created by the New York Public Library, will begin on Nov. 13. "A Man of Some Importance" will feature lectures, music recitals, readings of the Irish-Anglo author's letters and plays, and readings of works inspired by his writings. Participating will be the actors Cherry Jones, Barnard Hughes, Milo O'Shea and Kitty Sullivan, as well as the Metropolitan Opera Chorus. Also on hand will be Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland, who will open the program Monday, Nov. 13, with a talk about his grandpa, followed by the recitation of some of Wilde's letters.
Other attractions in the series include: readings of English and Spanish versions of Earnest; a reading (Nov. 20) of the 1960 musical Ernest in Love, with accompaniment by Steve Ross; the New York premiere of the restored version of After the Ball, Noel Coward's musical drawn from Lady Windermere's Fan; Alla Nazimova's silent film of Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils; and a reading of Aspects of Oscar by Barry Day, yet another play about Wilde.
Specific dates are forthcoming. For more information, call (212) 642-0142.
--By Robert Simonson