Thursday, April 11, 2019

Oscar Wilde’s last and most enduring play, “The Importance of Being Earnest" to end Chatham's 97th season

(L-R) Susie Speidel  as Lady Bracknell, Crystal Ann Bennett  as Gwendolen Fairfax, Charles Grayson  as Lane/Merriman and Andrew James Gordon  as Ernest/Jack Worthing

The Chatham Community Players is closing its 97th season with one of the greatest comic masterpieces of all time, Oscar Wilde’s last and most enduring play, “The Importance of Being Earnest”.  This production will run from May 3 through May 18. Tom Frascatore from Weehawken directs.  

 Set in the late 19th century, “The Importance of Being Earnest” captures the importance of truth and honesty in a comical way. The pretentiousness of upper-class Victorian society forces John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff to create fictitious lives as alter ego personalities to avoid social repercussions of their less attractive lifestyles. However, their clever tricks start to become increasingly difficult to keep up with when they insist on proposing and becoming married to the women they love. Twists and turns reveal more than one surprise that emphasize the importance of being earnest. Director Frascatore adds that “ "Earnest" is Oscar Wilde's masterwork.  

Still as relevant today as it was when written 124 years ago, it's a fast paced romp through Victorian hypocrisy. A fusion of a farce and a comedy of manners that challenges male/female roles and uses words like finely honed weapons to skewer society.  What happens when two best friends discover that the girls of their dreams have fallen in love with their alter-egos? Witty dialogue, surprises and even a muffin fight await you!”

 The talented group of actors that make up the “Earnest” cast are Peter Newes of Chatham as Algernon Moncrieff, Charles Grayson of Morristown as Lane/Merriman, Lisa Barnett of South Orange as Miss Prism, Susie Speidel of Springfield as Lady Bracknell, Emily Miller of Bloomingdale as Cecily Cardew, Crystal Ann Bennett of Bloomfield as Gwendolen Fairfax, Andrew James Gordon of West Windsor as Ernest/Jack Worthing and David Romankow of Gillette as Rev Canon Chasuble.

 Rounding out Frascatore’s talented production team, the Producer is Joëlle Bochner, Stage Manager is Marijah Sroczynski, Assistant Stage Manager is Caroline Courtney, Production Coordinator is Steffi Denmark, Scenic Designer is KC Cameron, Scenic Painting is Carol Saso, Costume Designer is Kai Movsovic, Lighting Designer is Chris Szczerbienski, Props & Decoration by Tish Lum & Kate Pierce and original music is composed and performed by the Sound Designer, Joe DeVico.

 Producer, Joëlle Bochner, was asked why she felt "The Importance of Earnest" was still very popular with audiences.  She explained that, “having seen and read this show many times over the years, I always find myself surprised that it does not feel dated, though it is set in 1895.  There will always be those who speak what they want people to believe is the truth, and those of us who see right through them to the reality of what they are doing or saying.  As audience members to this production, we all see through the "realities" that are presented to us, and can take delight in how each character manipulates the truth to his/her own purposes.  We know that the blatant secrets kept will eventually come to light. And who among us does not wish for love at first sight, for wrongs righted and for everlasting devotion?”

Box Office Information – Online Ticketing

Performance dates are May 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8pm and May 12 at 3pm. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham. Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for youth/senior.

 Tickets can be purchased at our Box Office or Online. To access the theater’s new online ticketing service, where you can now reserve your particular seat, simply go to The service is available 24 hours a day and tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance. Chatham Playhouse’s box office will begin accepting phone reservations on April 23 at (973) 635-7363. For information regarding box office hours, please call the box office number listed above. Patrons with special needs requiring seating accommodations should contact the Playhouse at least 24 hours prior to the performance. Without prior notice, accommodations cannot be guaranteed.

About the Chatham Playhouse

The Chatham Community Players has been entertaining residents of Morris County and the surrounding area since 1922. The organization’s mission is to produce high-quality theater for a diverse audience, while elevating its standard of excellence and providing a creative outlet with educational opportunities and outreach programs. For more information, including details of our upcoming 2019-2020 season, visit Funding has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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