PHILADELPHIA – July 10, 2013 – Mauckingbird Theatre Company presents a gender-bent interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Mauckingbird Artistic Director Peter Reynolds, August 7-25. This production marks the company’s most ambitious production to date, and, keeping true to its acclaimed reputation, will deliver a “post-gay” performance that looks beyond gay pairings to the relationships and emotional connections of the story.
Predominately a language play, Mauckingbird’s approach to Wilde’s classic Comedy of Manners focuses on the subtleties of the text. “What is really intriguing to me is that this play is all about class and status,” says Reynolds. “What works in this version is that it doesn’t matter to Lady Bracknell if her son wants to marry a man or marry a woman, as long as their class and status are up to her standards.”
Under his pseudonym Ernest, Jack Worthing (Chancellor Dean) falls in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax (Brent Knobloch) who unfortunately fixates on his assumed name. When his fellow playboy cousin Algernon Moncrief (James Ijames) discovers this falsehood, he adopts the name Ernest to woo Jack’s ward Cecily Cardew (David Hutchison), who will only marry a man named Ernest. Mauckingbird’s collision of class and status features an accomplished cast, including Nancy Boykin as the status-obesessed Lady Bracknell, Lindsay Mauck, Sarah Doherty, Mitchell Bloom and Darryl Gene Daughtry, Jr.
To fully realize the social status of the characters, Mauckingbird turned to Kickstarter to raise additional funds to support the vision of nationally recognized designer Marie Anne Chiment. “The play is about people of means—it really needs to look a certain way,” said Reynolds. The multiple locales of the production will be created by scenic designer Andrew Laine, focusing on simple yet classy and elegant environments.
The Importance of Being Earnest runs August 7-25, 2013 (press opening is Friday, August 9, at 8 p.m.), at the Off-Broad Street Theater at First Baptist Church, located at 1636 Sansom St. in Philadelphia. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and are available by calling the Mauckingbird Theatre Company box office at (215) 923-8909 or online at www.mauckingbird.org.
ABOUT THE CAST
Nancy Boykin (Lady Bracknell) was last seen at the Arden Theater, sitting in the trashcan, as Nell in Endgame. She recently created the role of Mrs. Pard in a new play by Davey White. Other Philadelphia credits include Superior Donuts, The Dead and Twelfth Night at the Arden, the Wilma (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Raw Boys), Interact (Silverhill), Act II Playhouse, Temple Repertory Theater. She has performed elsewhere with the Interact Theater in Los Angeles (LA Drama Critics Circle Award), The Arena Stage, The Long Wharf, Cincinnati Playhouse, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to name a few. She is dedicated to the development of new plays and teaches acting at Temple University and Villanova.
Chancellor Dean (Jack Worthing), a California native, was previously seen in last year’s Mauckingbird production of Much Ado About Nothing as Don Pedro and in the stage reading of Bad Seed. Most recently, Chance performed with Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre as Benedick in Much Ado and Cassio in Othello. Regional theater performances include Actors Theater Phoenix: Luke in Next Fall; The Old Globe: Johnson in Anna Christie; South Coast Repertory: Ethan in Jesus Hates Me. Previous Philadelphia appearances include Hedgerow Theater: Sherlock Holmes in The Crucifer of Blood; Arden Theater: Dennis in Loot; Azuka Theater Company: Dexter in Four. He received a BA in Theater from USC and a MFA in Acting from Temple University.
Philadelphia actor James Ijames (Algernon Moncrief) is known for his work in productions with People’s Light and Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Mauckingbird Theatre Company and Gloucester Stage Company. He received two Barrymore Awards for Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts with the Arden Theatre Company and Angels in America at the Wilma Theater, and was the 2011 recipient of the F. Otto Haas Emerging Artist Award.
David Hutchison (Cecily Cardew) is a University of the Arts graduate recently seen in Mauckingbird’s remount of R&J during Philadelphia’s Equality Forum 2013. Temple graduate Brent Knobloch (Gwendolyn Fairfax) is a member of the PHIT team Asteriod! This will be Brent’s fourth production with Mauckingbird, most recently in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2010, Puck). Elsewhere, Brent has performed in High School Musical, Sweet Charity (Oscar Lindquist), Damn Yankees, Romeo & Juliet (Romeo) and The Devils. He has also worked previously with Philadelphia Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and the Broadway Dreams Foundation.
Lindsay Mauck (Dr. Chausuble), co-founder and managing director of the company, will be making her Mauckingbird debut in this production. Lindsay has performed with Act II Playhouse, New Candlelight Theatre, Ritz Theatre and Philadelphia Theatre Company. She is also the Development and Communications Manager with Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Sarah Doherty (Miss Prism) Sarah Doherty is a local actor, originally from Ireland. She has worked with theatre companies such as Brat Productions, Pig Iron, Act 2 Playhouse, Arden Theatre Co., People’s Light, Delaware Theatre Co., Walnut St. Theatre and Theatre Exile. She is a three-time Barrymore Award nominee and one time winner. She was also voted Best Actress in a Musical by Philadelphia Theatre Magazine in 2006. She earned her MFA in Acting from Temple University in 2009.
Playing Merriman is Mitchell Bloom, recently seen in Mauckingbird’s Much Ado About Nothing as Borachio and crowned Mr. Mauckingbird in 2012, and making his Mauckingbird and professional stage debut is Darryl Gene Daughtry Jr as Lane. Darryl is Pittsburgh native currently in his junior year at Temple University.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Peter Reynolds (Artistic Director) currently serves as the Head of Musical Theater for the Department of Theater at Temple University. In Philadelphia, he has worked at Media Theatre, Act II Playhouse, Walnut Street Theatre, Hedgerow Theatre, Villanova Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. Reynolds spent six years as Artistic Director of the award-winning HealthWorks Theatre in Chicago and has also worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Theatre Building Chicago, Apollo Theatre Chicago, St. Louis’ HotCity Theatre, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre and Maples Repertory.