Oscar Wilde's Importance Begins in Earnest at BAM April 18

By Robert Simonson
April 18, 2006

Oscar Wilde once again bares his epigrammatic truths—which are famously "rarely pure and never simple"—in a new production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, starring Lynn Redgrave and directed by Peter Hall.

The show will run April 18-May 14. As previously reported, Redgrave will take on the role of Lady Bracknell, the imperious matron who is censorious on almost every subject, even the death of parents. ("To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.")

Jack Waterston, son of Sam Waterston and seen last summer in Central Park in As You Like It, plays Jack Worthing, who lives a double life and possesses a fictional, black sheep brother named Ernest. His duplicitous and complacent friend, Algernon Moncrieff, is played by Robert Petkoff. Trouble ensues when Algernon decides to assume the role of the ne'er-do-well Earnest, just as Jack has decided to kill him off.

Joining them are Miriam Margolyes (Miss Prism), Terence Rigby (Rev. Canon Chasuble), Bianca Amato (Gwendolen Fairfax), Charlotte Parry (Cecily Cardew), Geddeth Smith (Merriman), James Stephens (Lane) and Greg Felden (Footman).

Redgrave was most recently seen on the New York stage as another scolding mother figure, in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Constant Wife.

Production design is by Kevin and Trish Rigdon. Sound design is by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen.

Earnest played the Ahmanson Theatre Jan. 17-March 5.