Cincinnati is going Wilde, at least for its season openers. The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's second space will be used to rare effect beginning Oct. 1 when Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde opens during the related run of The Importance of Being Earnest on the theatre's mainstage.
The "unique juxtaposition," said Playhouse publicist Peter M. Robinson, is thought to be the first pairing of the classic Wilde comedy and the recent hit Off-Broadway docudrama about Wilde's personal tribulations during the time he was writing and enjoying the success of Earnest.
"It's very much the talk of the town here, which Oscar Wilde would be delighted with," Robinson told Playbill On-Line.
Such a convergence of related material is one of the foundations of the second stage philosophy at regional theatres. Partly as a result of a "Go Wild!" (sic) season promotion, the Thompson Shelterhouse subscribership is at an all-time high, Robinson said.
Gross Indecency , by Moises Kaufman, began previews Sept. 29 at the Playhouse's intimate 230-seat Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre. It continues through Oct. 25. Playhouse artistic director Ed Stern directs.
The Playhouse opened Earnest on the mainstage space, the Robert S. Marx Theatre, Sept. 10, under the direction of John Going. It continues through Oct. 9.
Featured in Gross Indecency are Jack Wetherall as Oscar Wilde, plus Daniel Travis, Traber Burns, Greg Thornton, Christopher McHale, Lex Woutas, Timothy Mitchell, Casey McClellan and Stephen Skiles.
Designers are Paul Shortt (sets), Elizabeth Hope Clancy (costumes) and Tom Hase (lighting).
Tickets are $22-$36. Call the Playhouse at (513) 421-3888.
-- By Kenneth Jones