PLAYBILL EXCLUSIVE: Striking a Pose, Broadway's Earnest Troupers Recreate Historic Stage Pictures

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest — currently enjoying an acclaimed and extended revival at Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre — celebrates its 116th anniversary on Valentine's Day. In a salute to the past, members of the Broadway company dressed up and held poses for photographer Joseph Marzullo recently, recreating two classic cast photos from the 1895 London and Broadway productions. 

The comedy of manners opened to critical and audience acclaim Feb. 14, 1895, at London's St. James Theatre. The production would close after only 86 performances due to Wilde's notoriety brought on by his infamous trials and legal battles with the Marquess of Queensberry.

Earnest debuted in New York April 22 of the same year at Broadway's Empire Theatre. Among the cast were William Faversham, Henry Miller and Viola Allen. The show has been revived on Broadway eight times since then.

BROADWAY 1895 AND 2011

Ida Vernon, William Faversham, Viola Allen, E.Y. Backus and Henry Miller in the 1895 Broadway production.
Brian Bedford, Santino Fontana, Sara Topham, Paul O'Brien and David Furr in the 2011 Broadway revival.
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN


Allan Aynesworth, Evelyn Millard, Irene Vanbrughe and George Alexander in the 1895 London premiere.
Santino Fontana, Charlotte Parry, Sara Topham and David Furr in the 2011 Broadway revival.
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The current production, directed by Brian Bedford (who also plays Lady Bracknell), opened at Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre Jan. 13. Originally scheduled for a limited run through March 6, the revival recently announced a 17-week extension through July 3. The cast also features 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 and Sara Topham as Gwendolen Fairfax.

Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212)719-1300, online at or at the American Airlines Box Office (227 West 42nd Street). Ticket prices range from $72-122.