Theater opening: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Fremont Centre Theatre)

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by Lamont Williams on August 20, 2021

in Theater-Los Angeles

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
OPENS TONIGHT AT FREMONT CENTRE THEATRE

Performed for live audiences at Fremont Centre Theatre, it will also be livestreamed,
so there will be that option for online audiences as well.

The Importance of Being Earnest is the most popular of the comedies written by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). Set in London and in Shropshire, England, it involves the doings of two best friends, Jack and Algy (Algernon).  Jack lives in the country, protective of his young ward, the “excessively pretty” heiress Cecily Cardew. But he likes to get away to London and the attractions of the city, so he has invented a rascally brother in London named Ernest to whom he must occasionally attend, necessitating his periodic departure from the country. The biggest draw in London for Jack is Algy’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen Fairfax.

Algy, meanwhile, goes to Shropshire posing as Ernest in an attempt to woo Cecily. As Shakespeare said, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” It also turns out that both women are attracted to men with the name of Ernest, so naturally both fellows make arrangements to have themselves re-christened. In the course of things, the deceptions of Jack and Algy will be found out. Can their lady loves possibly forgive them? It ultimately turns out that Jack and Algy share more in common than they could possibly have imagined, and that they have destinies that neither could have suspected.

The Importance of Being Earnest has been celebrated on several counts: for its satirical dissection of English mores, hypocrisy, and class snobbery; for its crisp, witty banter that snaps and crackles, influencing the best of 20th Century film comedies to come. But Wilde believed that more than anything else, a comedy should be funny, and this play delivers.

The cast includes (in alphabetical order) Tamarah Ashton, John Farley, Georgan George, Christopher Girt, Austin Hall,  Veronica Koutsky, Adam Langsam, Jeffrey Santos and Roza Zemla.

Jack J. Bennett directs. Jack has at least tried his hand at nearly every aspect of show business, including stand-up comedy, where he had the pleasure of opening for Larry the Cable Guy for multiple shows.  He has appeared on the live theatre stage thousands of times, as well as directing close to 200 live shows. Favorite roles include Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd (2020), Derek Coburn in Smoke and Mirrors, Starbuck in The Rainmaker (for which he won a Best Actor/Season award), and Man 2 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.  Jack is also a veteran of more than 100 television commercials, as well as film and television appearances including Ballers, All the Way, Desperate Housewives, House, The Bold and the Beautiful, Medium, How I Met Your Mother, Melissa and Joey, The Mindy Project, and most recently American Crime Story: Impeachment, airing this coming season.  Jack has been directing and producing with his lovely wife Gloria for 25 years.

The Importance of Being Earnest
Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena
produced by Gloria Bennett for Young Stars Theatre
this production of The Importance of Being Earnest features an adult cast)
August 20-September 25, 2021. Fridays at 7; Saturdays at 2 and 7
for tickets (live $30; virtual all-family pass $40), visit http://youngstarstheatre.org/tickets

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