Acclaimed set and costume designer Tony Walton will make his New York directorial debut with the Irish Repertory Theatre's production of The Importance of Being Earnest. This new presentation of Oscar Wilde's masterpiece, starring Melissa Errico, Nancy Marchand and Eric Stoltz, will begin performances on October 11.
After thrilling audiences, and winning a Lucille Lortel Award, in City Center Encore's One Touch of Venus, Melissa Errico has chosen this Off Broadway production as a vehicle for her return to the New York stage. As Venus, and as Eliza Doolittle opposite Richard Chamberlain in My Fair Lady, Ms Errico had demonstrated an authoritative stage presence and plentiful comic skill. She is perfectly suited to a play which requires both flawless timing and the deft application of attitude. Her interpretation of Wilde's Gwendolen Fairfax is sure to be a highlight of the coming season.
According to Press Representative James Morrison, the seed for this revival was an interview in which Tony Walton declared The Importance of Being Earnest as one of his all-time favorite plays. Upon reading the interview, Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director of The Irish Repertory Theatre, approached Walton about directing the classic.
Walton, a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame, has designed the recent revivals of A Funny Happen on the Way to the Forum and Company. For set and/or costume design, he has received three Tony Awards, an Emmy and five Oscar nominations. His set for Bob Fosse's film All that Jazz won the Academy Award. Though his previous directorial experience has been in regional theatre, the New York theatrical community awaits this realization of his labor of love.
Also known for his film work, actor Eric Stoltz has been seen in diverse offerings from Pulp Fiction to Naked in New York. In addition to his star-making role as Cher's disfigured son in the film Mask, he was seen on stage in, among others, Two Shakespearean Actors at Lincoln Center and Down the Road at the Atlantic Theatre Company.
Emmy Award-winner Nancy Marchand is familair to television audiences as Mrs. Pynchon on the "Lou Grant" series. She was Tony nominated for the 1993 Roundabout revival of Peter Shaffer's White Lies & Black Comedy, and her extensive theatre credits include The Cocktail Hour and The Balcony. The success of this endeavor is certain to create a higher profile for the eight-year-old Irish Repertory Theatre. Having recently moved to lavish new space in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, the company has established itself as up-and-coming theatrical force with productions such as the revival of Hugh Leonard's Da starring Brian Murray, and limited-engagement Broadway presentations including Yeats: a Celebration! and A Wilde Night on Broadway!
The Importance of Being Earnest is set to open on October 24 . The theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street and tickets are available by calling (212) 727-2737.
-- By Kevin W. Reardon