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August 10, 2023
Press release #1854

For more information, contact:
J’Kalein Madison 


Wilde’s adored play, filled with humor and wit, leads the Guthrie’s new season of cherished classics and acclaimed new work

Previews begin Saturday, September 9; Opening on Thursday, September 14

Playing through Sunday, October 15 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) — The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) today announced the cast and creative team for The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by David Ivers. One of the most perfect comedies ever written, Wilde’s masterpiece entertains and delights with its keen depiction of conventional manners and its satirical-yet-playful treatment of upper-class notions of propriety. Previews for The Importance of Being Earnest begin Saturday, September 9 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. The show opens on Thursday, September 14 and will play through Sunday, October 15. Single and group tickets are now on sale through the Box Office or online at guthrietheater.org. Accessibility services (ASL-interpreted, audio-described, open-captioned and relaxed performances) are also available on select dates.

Artistic Director Joseph Haj commented, “I’m thrilled to open our season with The Importance of Being Earnest, a beloved classic that has a special place in the Guthrie’s history. Oscar Wilde, whose mind and talent transcended those of his contemporaries, continues to captivate audiences with his signature wit, humor and playful storytelling.”

Haj continued to say, “David Ivers is a superb director whose Guthrie productions include The Cocoanuts and Blithe Spirit. Having him at the helm of Wilde’s clever play means audiences can expect an absolutely rich, funny and joyous theatergoing experience.”

The cast of The Importance of Being Earnest features Helen Cespedes (Guthrie: debut) as Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax, Bob Davis (Guthrie: Blithe Spirit, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible) as Lane/Rev. Canon Frederick Chasuble, D.D., Michael Doherty (Guthrie: debut) as Algernon Moncrieff, Corey Brill (Guthrie: debut) as John “Jack” Worthing, J.P., Michelle O’Neill (Guthrie: The Tempest, The Royal Family, The Crucible) as Miss Laetitia Prism, Daniel Petzold (Guthrie: Hamlet, Sally & Tom) as Merriman, Adelin Phelps (Guthrie: Steel Magnolias) as Cecily Cardew and Sally Wingert (Guthrie: Murder on the Orient Express, Steel Magnolias, Twelfth Night) as Lady Bracknell.

The creative team includes David Ivers (Director), Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams (Scenic Designer), Susan Tsu (Costume Designer), Philip Rosenberg (Lighting Designer), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Carla Steen (Resident Dramaturg), Keely Wolter (Vocal Coach), Alli St. John (Intimacy), Jennifer Liestman (Resident Casting Director), Karl Alphonso (Stage Manager), Matthew Meeks (Assistant Stage Manager) and McCorkle Casting, Ltd. (NYC Casting Consultant).

The Importance of Being Earnest tells the tale of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff — two dapper Edwardian gents who shamelessly invent people in order to shirk their responsibilities and follow their whims. For country-dwelling Jack, his fictitious brother Ernest creates a perfect excuse to visit London and swoon over Gwendolen, Algernon’s cousin and daughter of the formidable Lady Bracknell. For city-dwelling Algernon, his imaginary (and sickly) friend Bunbury frequently calls him away to the country, where he meets and falls for Jack’s ward Cecily. Like a brilliantly paced piece of music, this masterful comedy woos theatergoers into a state of sheer delight with its mild treacheries, hilarious confusions and endearingly flawed characters.

David Ivers (Director) is the Artistic Director of South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California. Ivers directing credits at South Coast Repertory include She Loves Me and One Man, Two Guv’nors. Other directing credits include productions at the Guthrie Theater, Arizona Theatre Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His teaching includes University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Southern Utah University and Southern Oregon University.

Related Events

Post-Play Discussions – Select dates

Patrons are invited to stay in the theater following select performances for a 20-minute conversation about the production facilitated by Guthrie staff. Cast members may join the discussion as they are able.

Relaxed Performance – October 1 at 1 p.m.

A relaxed performance is intended to be sensitive to and accepting of any audience member who may benefit from a more relaxed environment. It is intentionally modified to accommodate patrons with sensory and vestibular sensitivities, anxiety, dementia, autism spectrum disorders, learning difference and/or other challenges attending the theater.

Ticket Information

Single tickets start at $29 for previews. All other performances range from $34 to $95. Single and group tickets (minimum requirement of 15 per group) can be purchased through the Box Office at 612.377.2224 (single), 1.877.447.8243 (toll-free), 612.225.6244 (group) or online at guthrietheater.org.

Land Acknowledgment

The Guthrie Theater acknowledges that it resides on the traditional land of the Dakota People and honors with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, including the Ojibwe and other Indigenous nations.  

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) is an American center for theater performance in Minneapolis, Minnesota, dedicated to producing a mix of classic and contemporary plays and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Under Haj’s leadership, the Guthrie is guided by four core values: Artistic Excellence; Community; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility; and Fiscal Responsibility. Since its founding in 1963, the theater has continued to set a national standard for excellence in the field and serve the people of Minnesota as a vital cultural resource. The Guthrie houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public spaces. guthrietheater.org