The Importance of Being Earnest to Open in Repertory with Measure for Measure at PSF

by Lisa Higgins | Jul 01, 2013

Oscar Wilde’s scintillating wit and romantic archetypes fill one of the most celebrated comedies of all time. The Importance of Being Earnest opens on the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s main stage Friday, July 12, with previews July 10 and 11, and runs through August 4. The Importance of Being Earnest will play in repertory with Measure for Measure.

The Importance of Being Earnest offers a tale of two well-to-do gentlemen, John Worthing played by Blake Ellis and Algernon Moncrieff played by DeSales alumnus Zack Robidas, as they pursue countryside adventures, love, and identities – both real and invented. Gwendolen Fairfax captures John’s heart and is performed by alumna Alexie Gilmore, whose feature film credits include starring opposite Robin Williams inWorld’s Greatest Dad and Matthew McConaughey in Surfer Dude. Cecily Cardew, played by PSF veteran Erin Partin, catches Algernon’s eye.

Algernon and John’s falsified identities prevail until the young gents cross paths with the indomitable  Lady Bracknell, Wilde’s symbol of Victorian ethics run amok. Director and PSF veteran Jim Helsinger plays Lady Bracknell, in the tradition of great male comedic actors in the role.

The cast includes Wayne S. Turney as Rev. Canon Chasuble, and Brad DePlanche as John Worthing’s butler, Merriman. Playing Miss Prism, Cecily’s governess is Suzanne O’Donnell, while Greg Wood takes on the role of Lane, Algernon’s butler.

Lighting is designed by two-time Barrymore award winner Thom Weaver. Scenic design is by six-time Emmy winner Bob PhillipsLisa Zinni, also a DeSales graduate, designed the costumes, and sound design is created by Matthew Given, PSF’s resident designer. Jane Ridley is the accent coach. Stacy Renee Norwood serves as stage manager, with Alison Hassman as assistant stage manager. Alumnus Matt Pfeiffer serves as associate director.

Performances: Tuesday, July 16 & 30 at 7pm; Wednesday, July 10, 17 & 24 at 8pm; Thursday, July 11 & August 1 at 8pm; Friday, July 12 & 26 at 8 pm; Saturday, July 27 at 2pm & August 3 at 8 pm; Sunday, July 21 & 28 at 2pm & August 4 at 7:30pm.  
Tickets: $25-55. Discounts for students, seniors, subscribers and groups.
Meet the actors: Q&A after all Thursday performances, except previews.

Box Office: 610.282.WILL [9455] Order online at:

The Festival's 22nd season also features Measure for Measure (July 18 – August 4) in rep with The Importance of Being Earnest, Henry VIII (July 24 – August 4), and the children's productions Beauty and the Beast (through August 3) and Shakespeare for Kids (July 24 - August 3). 

The production sponsor for The Importance of Being Earnest is Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects. Season sponsors are Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Szarko, and associate season sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit, theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations. PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

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Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
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