Art museum gets earnest

A scene from The Importance of Being Earnest performed in 2003 at the Utah Shakesperean Festival in Cedar City (Photo by Karl Hugh)

If you can jump on a plane and land tickets before July 3, you can see Tony Award® winner Brian Bedford (“Tartuffe”) perform the role of “Lady Bracknell” in the Broadway revival of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Bricknell also directs this production.

If not, never fear — because a performance of Wilde’s comedic work is being “captured live in high-definition at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway and simulcast” to the Phoenix Art Museum Sun, June 12, from 2-5pm.

The 2011 Tony Awards® ceremony will be broadcast on CBS that very evening, so you can run right home from the Phoenix Art Museum to continue your celebration of all things Tony Awards®.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” in nominated for three Tony Awards® — Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Brian Bedford) and Best Costume Design of a Play (Desmond Heeley).

The simulcast of “The Importance of Being Earnest” is being presented by Roundabout Theatre Company, L.A. Theatre Works and BY Experience. Your only other opportunity to see this production in Arizona is a Sun, June 5, presentation at The Loft Cinema in Tucson. Those more earnest than most can do both.

Maybe you’d like to get a little more “Wilde” this summer. If so, you can hit the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix Jun 3-11 for a live performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by the Southwest Shakespeare Company.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival calls this work “one of the funniest comedies in the English language — and a critique of the conventions and hypocrises of so-called polite society that remains stingingly pertinent even today.”

The festival adds that the work has “no overt sexuality and no hint of violence” — saying its “suitable for all ages” but might not be of interest to young children.

If you know and love Wilde’s work, no further explanation is necessary. If you’ve experienced his work without being wowed, keep trying. And if you just want to learn more, click here to land on the Roundabout Theatre website — where you’ll find more scoop on the Broadway production as well as a “Playgoers’ Guide.”

— Lynn

Note: As always, please contact venues/companies before attending to confirm dates/times, locations, ticket pricing and availability, etc.

Coming up: A new musical with a social justice theme, Women of Broadway head to Arizona, A conversation with Arizona’s only Tony Award® voter

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