DALLAS -- It took a recent, acclaimed Broadway revival to lift Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband into the same critical heights as his The Importance Of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan, but now that Husband has been rediscovered, regional theatres are taking note.
This past October, Utah's Pioneer Theatre Company staged the comedy/drama, and now Dallas Theatre Center finishes its run of An Ideal Husband at its Kalita Humphreys stage, Feb. 8. The show began previews Jan. 14 and opened Jan. 20. Husband follows a rising politician with a spotless reputation who finds himself blackmailed for an indiscretion in his past.
Jonathan Moscone, associate director of DTC, directs the piece, which has sets by Narelle Sissons (Off-Broadway's How I Learned To Drive), costumes by Katherine Roth, lighting by Christopher Akerlind (artistic director of Portland Stage) and sound by Curtis Craig.
The 1895 play opened in London just before Earnest, and both made author Wilde a major figure -- until his lawsuit against the Marquis of Queensbury backfired and led to his imprisonment and physical dissipation -- a history recounted in the Off-Broadway hit, Gross Indecency.
Of An Ideal Husband, artistic director Richard Hamburger said in a statement, "This is a play written a hundred years ago, and only now can we see how brilliantly modern a thinker Wilde was... He knew the social world and the backrooms of power." Starring at DTC are Todd Waite, Sally Hystuen Vahle, Stephanie Roth (Artist Descending A Staircase on Broadway), Sean Haberle, Liz Piazza Kelly, Beverly May, Edmund Coulter, Joanna Schellenberg, Tara Gibson, Dennis Millegan and Brandon T. Miller. For tickets call (214) 522 TIXX.
The Dallas Theatre Center launched its 1997-98 season with Alan Ayckbourn's Intimate Exchanges. The rest of the 1997-1998 season looks like this:
* Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill, Feb. 25 - Mar. 22. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Long Day's Journey is O'Neill's autobiographical drama of one day in the lives of the Tyrone family. In that one day old grievances resurface and the bonds of family are tested.
* Having Our Say by Emily Mann, April 1-26, 1998. Having Our Say shows two African American sisters who take the audience on an opinionated tour through the 100 years of their lives.
-- By David Lefkowitz