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The Importance of Being Earnest

January 27 - March 04

Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

Photo Credits
<p>(from left) Matt Schwader, Kate Abbruzzese, Helen Carey, Christian Conn, and Helen Cespedes. Photo by Jim Cox.</p>
The Importance of Being Earnest


The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Maria Aitken

Oscar Wilde’s wildly entertaining comedy sparkles with dazzling wordplay and hilariously unlikely situations. This “trivial comedy for serious people” features two carefree bachelors, Jack and Algernon, each with a carefully hidden double life. But when Algernon discovers that Jack has been posing as a man named Ernest to escape to the city, he promptly travels to Jack’s country estate to pose as the fictional figure himself! Silliness ensues with whimsical ingénues, jealous fiancées, indomitable dowagers, and the most famous handbag in theatre history. The Globe’s lavish production of this timeless classic offers the unmissable opportunity to see what the London Telegraph calls “the most perfect comedy in the English language.”

Video: Barry Edelstein talks about Oscar Wilde’s classic.

Running time: 2 hours, 25 minutes, including one intermission.

Production Sponsors
Nikki and Ben Clay
Ann Davies
Brian and Silvija Devine
Jean and Gary Shekhter
Darlene Marcos Shiley
The Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Fund

This production is supported in part by the Jean and Gary Shekhter Fund for Classic Theatre.

Groups of 10 or more may purchase discounted tickets, and tickets may also be purchased as part of a money-saving season package.

Learn more about group discounts
Learn more about season package


Cast and Creative



Oscar Wilde (Playwright, 1854–1900) was born in Dublin, Ireland, and attended University of Oxford, where he proved to be a brilliant scholar, winning the Newdigate Prize for his poem “Ravenna.” His first collection, Poems, was published in 1881. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1890 and was widely condemned by Victorian critics for its “immoral” content, but it remains one of his most acclaimed works. In the subsequent years, Mr. Wilde had enormous success on stage with his comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). His play Salome (1893), written in French, was refused a license in London but, 13 years later, was adapted by Richard Strauss into a successful opera. The Marquess of Queensberry strongly disapproved of the playwright, and a quarrel ensued that eventually led to Mr. Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexuality. He was sentenced to two years hard labor and was released in 1897. He moved to France under the name Sebastian Melmoth and, while there, wrote his famous poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” He died in exile in 1900.

Maria Aitken (Director) just directed August Strindberg’s Creditors at American Players Theatre. Her previous credits include Tartuffe and Heartbreak House (Resident Ensemble Players), The Cocktail Hour (Guthrie Theater), Bedroom Farce, Private Lives, Educating Rita, The Cocktail Hour, and The Seagull (Huntington Theatre Company), Man and Boy (Broadway, West End, tour), The Gift (Melbourne Theatre Company, Geffen Playhouse), Private Lives and As You Like It (Shakespeare Theatre Company, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Quartermaine’s Terms (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The 39 Steps (Broadway, Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play, Olivier Award-winning nine-year West End production, Helpmann Award), Japes (Bay Street Theater), The Mystery of Irma Vep and Happy Family (West End), After the Ball Was Over (The Old Vic), and The Rivals (Court Theatre). Ms. Aitken has taught courses in high comedy at the British American Drama Academy, The Juilliard School, Yale School of Drama, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, The Actors Center, Academy for Classical Acting, and Royal National Theatre Studio. As leading actress, she has appeared in the West End productions of Blithe Spirit and Bedroom Farce (National Theatre), Travesties and Waste (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress), The Happiest Days of Your Life (Royal Shakespeare Company), Humble Boy, Sylvia, Other People’s Money, The Vortex, The Women, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, Design for Living, Private Lives (Olivier Award nomination for Actress of the Year in a Revival), and A Little Night Music. She also appeared in the film A Fish Called Wanda (BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role). Ms. Aitken is the author of A Girdle Round the Earth and Style: Acting in High Comedy. She received a Master of Arts from University of Oxford in English Language and Literature, and she is a Trustee of the Noel Coward Foundation.

Hugh Landwehr (Scenic Design) has designed scenery throughout the United States. His work on Broadway has included productions of Frozen, Bus Stop, All My Sons, and A View from the Bridge. Off Broadway, he has designed Last Easter, Scattergood, Filumena, and The Baby Dance, among others. He has worked at many regional theatres, including Alley Theatre in Houston, Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Guthrie Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and many others. He has designed at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and the Westport Country Playhouse. He is presently a faculty member of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Williams College. He is proud to have twice been the recipient of NEA grants as an Associate Artist, to have won the Mary L. Murphy Award in Design (administered by Long Wharf Theatre), and to be the 2003 winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Set Design. He was educated at Yale College.

Fabio Toblini (Costume Design) previously designed The Old Globe’s Kiss Me, Kate. His recent credits include A Flea in Her Ear (American Players Theatre), Tartuffe (Resident Ensemble Players), The Comedy of Errors (Hartford Stage), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Baltimore Center Stage), Pip’s Island (Skylight Modern), and Afterplay (Irish Repertory Theatre). Mr. Toblini’s has designed regional productions at Guthrie Theater, Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Ford’s Theatre, and Studio Theatre. His opera credits include Santa Fe Opera, Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Nationale Reisopera in the Netherlands, Landestheater in Austria, Gotham Chamber Opera, and Portland Opera. He designed the Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet and the original Off Broadway productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Bat Boy: The Musical, and The Divine Sister. Mr. Toblini has received a 2015 Craig Noel Award nomination, 2015 Connecticut Critics Circle Award nomination, 2012 Connecticut Critics Circle Award,2008Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and 2001 Lucille Lortel Award nomination. fabiotoblini.com.

Philip S. Rosenberg (Lighting Design) has designed the Broadway productions of The Elephant Man, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,and It’s Only a Play. His Off Broadway credits include The Ruins of Civilization, The Explorer’s Club,and Cactus Flower. His regional credits include productions with The Old Globe, The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Guthrie Theater, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, McCarter Theatre Center, Manhattan School of Music, Portland Stage, The Actors Company Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Dorset Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theater, Goodspeed Musicals, Two River Theater, George Street Playhouse, and Westport Country Playhouse.

Fitz Patton (Sound Design) previously sound designed the Globe productions of Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood!, Constellations, The Winter’s Tale, Good People, and August: Osage County and provided original music for Robin Hood! and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. He is currently represented on Broadway with Meteor Shower and Three Tall Women. His other Broadway credits include Present Laughter, The Little Foxes, The Father, The Humans (Drama Desk Award), Blackbird, It’s Only a Play, An Act of God (Drama Desk nomination), Airline Highway, The Other Place, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, Outside Mullingar, Casa Valentina, The House of Blue Leaves, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Broadway Bound. Mr. Patton’s many Off Broadway credits include the recent productions of The Other Place (Lucille Lortel Award nomination) and Yen (MCC Theater) and When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center Theater, Lortel and Drama Desk Awards). His symphony credits include The Holy Land. Mr. Patton is the founder of Chance Magazine, a theatre design magazine.

David Huber (Voice and Dialect Coach) has worked on the Globe productions of Hamlet, Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood!, The Imaginary Invalid, Skeleton Crew, Red Velvet, The Blameless, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, October Sky, Meteor Shower, Sense and Sensibility, Macbeth, tokyo fish story, Camp David, Constellations, Rain, and Bright Star, among many others. His previous Globe acting credits include The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Merchant of Venice, among several others. He is a graduate of the Graduate Voice Teacher Diploma Program at York University in Toronto. His regional theatre credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pittsburgh Playhouse, PCPA Theaterfest, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Center REPertory Company, and Centennial Theater Festival, among many others. Mr. Huber coaches voice, speech, and acting privately and at several local colleges, and he also works with special-needs clients. He is a graduate of The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.

Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) has cast the Globe productions of Uncle Vanya, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood!, Skeleton Crew, Red Velvet, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Blameless, Meteor Shower, tokyo fish story, Constellations, The Last Match, Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Rich Girl, Arms and the Man, Buyer & Cellar, The White Snake, The Twenty-seventh Man, The Royale, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Water by the Spoonful, Time and the Conways, Bethany, The Winter’s Tale, The Few, Double Indemnity, The Rainmaker, Other Desert Cities, Be a Good Little Widow, A Doll’s House, The Brothers Size, Pygmalion, and Good People. Their Broadway casting credits include Junk, Meteor Shower, A Doll’s House Part 2, The Front Page, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Glass Menagerie, Jitney, The Little Foxes, The Father, Blackbird, An Act of God, Airline Highway, Fish in the Dark, It’s Only a Play, Disgraced, Holler If Ya Hear Me, Casa Valentina, The Snow Geese, Orphans, The Trip to Bountiful, Grace, Dead Accounts, The Other Place, Seminar, The Columnist, Stick Fly, Good People, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The House of Blue Leaves, Fences, Lend Me a Tenor, and The Royal Family. They also cast for Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theater Company, Signature Theatre Company, LCT3, Ars Nova, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and Arena Stage, among others. Their film and television credits include HairBrained with Brendan Fraser, “American Odyssey” (NBC), “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC pilot), “Ironside” (NBC), and Steel Magnolias (Sony for Lifetime).

Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager) has previously worked on The Old Globe’s productions of Benny & Joon; King Richard II; Picasso at the Lapin Agile; October Sky; Kiss Me, Kate; The Twenty-seventh Man; Bright Star; Dog and Pony; The Winter’s Tale; Be a Good Little Widow; Allegiance; A Room with a View; Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show; The Savannah Disputation;and Kingdom. Ms. Nero also worked on the Broadway production of Bright Star and most recently launched the first national tour. Her selected La Jolla Playhouse credits include Sideways directed by Des McAnuff, Ruined directed by Liesl Tommy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Christopher Ashley, and Herringbone directed by Roger Rees and starring BD Wong. Ms. Nero has worked with several prominent regional theatres including The Kennedy Center, Center Theatre Group (Ahmanson and Kirk Douglas Theatres), Hartford Stage, SITI Company, Huntington Theatre Company, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre to name a few, in addition to having toured nationally and internationally with various organizations.



Insights Seminar

This series provides Old Globe patrons with an opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatre going experience. Each Insights Seminar takes place 90 minutes before curtain time on the Tuesday after performances begin, and includes an informal reception 30 minutes before the start. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.


Post-Show Forums

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast members. Get the "inside story" on creating a character and putting together a professional production. Post-show forums are scheduled after select Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Subject Matters

Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians and scholars. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play's concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! Subject Matters discussions follow select Saturday matinee performances. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Saturday, February 3, 2018