|Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell|
January 26, 2011… Brian Bedford’s delightful interpretation of The Importance of Being Earnest – based on his 2009 Stratford production – has become the toast of New York. Rave reviews and jubilant audiences have prompted the Roundabout Theatre Company to extend the run by seventeen weeks to July 3.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival sends hearty congratulations to Mr. Bedford on the success of his production and is delighted to welcome him back for the 2011 season. Mr. Bedford will play Oronte in The Misanthrope, which will feature Ben Carlson in the principal role of Alceste.
The origins of this production of The Importance of Being Earnest can be traced back to 2007, when Brian Bedford directed King Lear and played the title role at Stratford. Artistic Director Des McAnuff asked Mr. Bedford if he would like to return to the company, to which Mr. Bedford replied: “What do you do after King Lear?” Mr. McAnuff responded: “Play Lady Bracknell.”
“It took a little while for Brian to warm to the idea” says Mr. McAnuff, “but we were delighted he did, and now all of New York is sharing that delight.”
“Our congratulations go to Brian Bedford for the success of his New York production based upon his wonderful work here in Stratford,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino, “Congratulations also to Sara Topham who has made an absolutely smashing Broadway debut. This kind of success outside our borders shows once again how fortunate we are in Canada to have the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in our own backyard.”
Mr. Bedford will no longer be directing The Misanthrope, but the Festival is in discussion with a director to replace him.
Sara Topham, who plays Gwendolen in the Broadway production of Earnest, will also return to the Festival company to play Célimène in The Misanthrope and Olivia in Twelfth Night.
“We are fortunate to have a stellar cast for The Misanthrope, led by Ben Carlson, who debuted at Stratford with a riveting portrayal of Hamlet and delighted audiences with his Touchstone in my production of As You Like It last season,” says Mr. McAnuff.
The Roundabout production of The Importance of Being Earnest, playing at the American Airlines Theater on Broadway, was originally scheduled to close on March 6.
The 2011 season, which begins April 16, features The Merry Wives of Windsor, Camelot, Twelfth Night, The Misanthrope, The Grapes of Wrath, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Homecoming, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s Will, The Little Years and Hosanna. Tickets are available by calling 1.800.567.1600 or visiting http://www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com/.