The Importance of Being Earnest
Propriety, society, family ties, love, and the perfection of cucumber sandwiches all hilariously combine in Oscar Wilde’s great comedy of manners. Tony nominee Michael Cumpsty, most recently seen on the Two River stage as King Henry in The Lion in Winter, will step behind the scenes to direct this classic satire of British Victorian society.
The Two River Theater is presenting the metro area audience with a holiday gift…..a light-hearted, yet insightful piece of theatre that you will long remember. Get your tickets and enjoy.
A Gem” and “Very Very Funny
SCENE ON STAGE
The Importance of Being Earnest” is referred to as ‘the wittiest play in the English language.’ Nowhere is that shimmering wit more in evidence these weeks than at Two River Theater in Red Bank NJ.
SCENE ON STAGE
MEET THE ARTISTS
Randy Danson was most recently seen in New York City in the Signature Theatre production of Suzan-Lori Parks’s play Venus. Prior to that, she performed in Sam Hunter’s play Lewiston at Long Wharf Theatre. Some roles over the years have included Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Shen Teh/ Shui Ta in The Good Person of Szechuan (Helen Hayes Award winner), Vivian in Wit (Barrymore Award winner), Madame Morrible in Wicked (National Tour and Broadway), Clytemnestra in The Oresteia, Arkadina in The Seagull, ensemble in Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information and, more recently, the rapacious demon, Tumacho, in the cowboy musical of the same name. She has made guest appearances in some episodic television programs such as Law & Order and Power. She played Mary, Lazarus’s sister, in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. She was given an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance in 1992.
Rosa Gilmore Theater credits: Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (The Public, dir. Phyllida Lloyd), This Is How It Ends (59E59), Robin Hood, Three Sisters, The Coming World (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Sehnsucht (Jack Theater). TV/Film: The Handmaid’s Tale, Elementary, Going Places, Modern Love. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting.
Mahira Kakkar is a theater, film and TV actress. Her stage credits include the premiere of Monsoon Wedding with Mira Nair, Clive with Ethan Hawke, Ms. Witherspoon with Christopher Durang, Jesus in India with Lloyd Suh, When January Feels Like Summer and Five Mile Lake. Her TV work includes The Blacklist, Law & Order: CI, Odd Mom Out, Blue Bloods, The Big C and Louie. Her film work includes the award-winning Hank and Asha, Hechki, Bite Me, Oil and Vinegar. She has worked extensively in regional theater. Upcoming: The Winter’s Tale (TFANA). Training: Juilliard, Harold Guskin and Ted Sluberski. Proud member of EST, Hero Theatre, and The Actors Center.
Chris Kipiniak Broadway: Metamorphoses (dir. Mary Zimmerman), Macbeth (with Alan Cumming). Off-Broadway: Kit Marlowe (Public Theater), Charles Winn Speaks… (Living Image Arts), The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Rattlestick and Women’s Project). Regional: Hudson Stage Company, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Huntington, Lookingglass, Mark Taper Forum, Goodman and others. Film/TV/Web: Love Life (also writer); Deal Travis In; Mr. Robot; web series Real Actors Read…. Writing: Radiotopia podcast, The Truth; Comics: Nightcrawler, Amazing Fantasy and Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man for Marvel comics, Behemoth from MonkeyBrain comics. Plays: Save the World (Roundtable Ensemble), Iiiinsaaaaaaaane!, Change the Be, Stalled (Horse Trade Theater Group). Chris is also an audiobook narrator with over 75 titles on Audible.com.
Sam Lilja is a New York-based actor and dialect coach. His stage roles include Acolyte (59E59), Clarkston (Dallas Theater Center), The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare Theatre Company, DC). Film: Lincoln in the Bardo, The Drowning, I Didn’t Come Here to Make Love. TV: Billions, Almost There. Dialect coaching can be seen in the upcoming films UFO and Nasty Women. Training: The Juilliard School. Proud member of The 52nd Street Project. samlilja.com.
Bob Mackasek made his debut at Two River Theater last year with August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Bob has been seen in regional theater and amateur productions including Bill Sr. in Clever Little Lies, Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Jean Shepard in A Christmas Story: The Musical, Joe Keller in All My Sons, George Aaronow in Glengarry Glen Ross, Uncle Charlie in August: Osage County, and numerous appearances at the annual Princeton Music Festival. Bob has been playing and singing in piano bars for more than 50 years.
Federico Rodriguez appeared as Freddy in Pygmalion, directed by the late Nicholas Martin at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Other recent theater credits include Hope and Gravity (Pittsburgh City Theatre), The Record (The Public Theater), A Four-Letter Word (Classic Stage Company), and The Hotel Colors (The Bushwick Starr). TV/Film: Recurring role on the upcoming season of The Path (Hulu), Bull (CBS), Madam Secretary (CBS). BA: Brown University.
Henry Vick is very excited to make his Two River debut. Recent credits include Simon Dawes Becomes a Planet, Important Hats of the 20th Century (MTC), The Mnemonist of Dutchess County (Attic Theater Company), The Imaginary Invalid (with Peter Dinklage) (Bard SummerScape), When the Rain Stops Falling (LCT). TV: Nightcap (Pop TV), Deadbeat (Hulu), Are We There Yet? (TBS). Other appearances for Delta Airlines (with Alf), The Late Show with David Letterman. Henry is from West Virginia via Kansas City, MO. (Go Royals.) HenryVick.com
Liesel Allen Yeager
Liesel Allen Yeager is pleased to be making her Two River debut! Liesel grew up in Virginia, where she played Lady Bracknell in a high school production of Earnest and fell in love with the play. She now lives in New York, and sometimes Los Angeles. Favorite credits include Broadway: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony, Best Play). Off-Broadway: Plenty (The Public), Teenage Dick (The Public), Too Much Too Soon (Lesser America), The Sporting life (Studio 42). Regional: Vicuña (Ojai Playwrights Conference), Amadeus (South Coast Rep), Teenage Dick (O’Neill Theater Center), Cock (Studio Theatre), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Center Theatre Group). Film: A Picture of You. TV: Daredevil, The Good Wife, Rizzoli & Isles, How to Make it in America. Liesel is a proud graduate of The Juilliard School and would like to thank her family for always supporting her artistic endeavors. This one’s for you, Papa!
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) was born in Dublin to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane. While studying at Oxford, he was fascinated by the aesthetic movement and eventually became a proponent for “L’art pour l’art (“Art for Art’s Sake”), and wrote the award-winning poem Ravenna. After he graduated in 1879, he moved to Chelsea in London to establish a literary career. Upon graduating in 1879, he moved to London to review art, write poetry and lecture in the UK, the United States and Canada. In 1884, Wilde married Constance Lloyd and, in the course of their turbulent marriage, had two sons. His first and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1891 and has been adapted for the stage. Wilde’s first successful theatrical endeavor, Lady Windermere’s Fan, opened in 1892. He went on to create the wonderfully popular comedies A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and the classic The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). Not long afterward, Wilde was publicly accused of homosexuality and arrested for gross indecency. During his time in prison he wrote De Profundis, a dramatic monologue and autobiography, which was addressed to his lover Bosie. Three years after his release in 1897, he died of cerebral meningitis in a rundown Paris hotel. Known for his philosophical wit and irreverent charm, Wilde is famously quoted as saying, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”
Michael Cumpsty has appeared in The Lion in Winter, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Absurd Person Singular, Present Laughter and Much Ado about Nothing at Two River Theater, where he also directed The Importance of being Earnest and Third. Broadway credits include Machinal, The Winslow Boy, End of the Rainbow (Tony nomination), Sunday in the Park with George, The Constant Wife, Democracy, Enchanted April, 42nd Street, Copenhagen, Electra, 1776, Racing Demon, The Heiress, Translations, Timon of Athens (Bayfield Award), La Bête and Artist Descending a Staircase. Off-Broadway credits include Hamlet (Obie Award), Richard II and Richard III (all for Classic Stage Company); Twelfth Night, Timon of Athens, All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale (all for the New York Shakespeare Festival); The Body of an American (Primary Stages and Hartford Stage). He has appeared in many of America’s premiere regional theaters, and played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company at their home in Stratford-upon-Avon. TV: recurring roles on Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie and Star Trek: Voyager; L.A. Law (series regular); Red Oaks, The OA, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Law & Order and Elementary. Film: Eat Pray Love, Wall Street 2, Starting Out in the Evening, The Ex, Flags of our Fathers, The Visitor, The Ice Storm, Fatal Instinct, State of Grace, Downtown Express and Collateral Beauty.
Charlie Corcoran previously designed The Importance of Being Earnest, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lives of Reason and Absurd Person Singular at Two River Theater. Off-Broadway: Billy and Ray (Vineyard Theatre), The Emperor Jones (Hewes Design Award nomination), The Quare Land (Origin’s First Irish Award), Shining City, The Seafarer, The Weir, The Freedom of the City, Prisoner of the Crown, Defender of the Faith, The Field (Irish Rep), Craving for Travel (Peter J. Sharp Theatre), Smash (Juilliard), The Last Smoker in America (Westside Theatre), A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane), The Late Christopher Bean (TACT), Sophistry, The Black Monk, The Bully Pulpit (Beckett Theatre), Exits and Entrances (Primary Stages). Regional: A Comedy of Tenors (Cleveland Play House and McCarter Theatre), Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (Goodman Theatre), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Bucks County Playhouse), The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro (McCarter Theatre), The Night Watcher, Without Walls (Center Theatre Group), Fallen Angels (NJ Shakespeare Theatre). Opera: Fidelio (Santa Fe Opera), The Bartered Bride, Cosi Fan Tutte (co-production Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard), Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro (2015) (Juilliard), The Magic Flute (Music Academy of the West). TV: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS), Madam Secretary (CBS), Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon).
Jess Goldstein previously designed The Ballad of Little Jo at Two River Theater. New York credits include Jersey Boys, Disney’s Newsies, On the Town, The Rivals (2005 Tony Award), The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino (Tony nomination), Plenty with Rachel Weisz, Henry IV with Kevin Kline (Tony nomination), Proof, Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Take Me Out, Tintypes, The Most Happy Fella, Buried Child, How I Learned to Drive, Stuff Happens, Dinner with Friends and The Mineola Twins (Lortel and Hewes Awards). His opera designs include Il Trittico for the Metropolitan Opera, Dead Man Walking for New York City Opera, and Two Women and Heart of a Soldier, two recent world premieres, for San Francisco Opera. Jess has also designed for film and television, most notably A Walk on the Moon directed by Tony Goldwyn, The Substance of Fire with Sarah Jessica Parker and Talking With and Far East for PBS’ Great Performances. He is the 2015 recipient of the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award and is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, where he has been a Professor in the design department since 1990. www.jess-goldstein.com
Yuki Nakase previously at Two River Theater: Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey adapted for the stage by David Greenspan and directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Michael Cumpsty, and Tony Meneses’ The Women of Padilla directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. Recent design credits include Tiny Beautiful Things (Long Wharf Theatre), Hope (Wild Project), Queen of Basel (Colony Theatre), The Hartt School Dance Division Fall Concert (University of Hartford). Next: Triptych: Eyes of One on Another (LA Phil, University Musical Society, Kennedy Center and BAM). She was born in Tokyo, grew up in Kyoto, Japan and currently lives north of NYC in the woods. B.A. in Dance: JWCPE, M.F.A. in Lighting Design: NYU. For more information, visit http://yukinakase.com
Elisheba Ittoop Her designs and original music have been heard at The Kennedy Center, The Guthrie Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, National Gallery of Art, Soho Rep, Women’s Project, Triad Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Arena Stage, Alliance Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Trinity Rep, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Okeechobee Music Festival, and the Center for Puppetry Arts. Elisheba was a resident sound designer at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center for the 2010 and 2011 National Playwrights Conferences, recipient of the Kenan Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and winner of the 2008 USITT Rising Star Award. Education: NYU, North Carolina School of the Arts. www.elishebaittoop.com
Leah J. Loukas
Leah J. Loukas Broadway: The Great Comet of 1812, Sweat, Oh, Hello!, The Heidi Chronicles, On the Town, A Night with Janis Joplin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, American Idiot, Irena’s Vow. The Public Theater: Plenty, Barbecue, Fortress of Solitude, Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Into the Woods. Regional work: Dallas Theater Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse. She made her Two River debut last season with The Ballad of Little Jo.
Heidi Griffiths has worked for more than 25 years at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NYC, where she has cast over 200 productions Off-Broadway and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, including Shakespeare, new plays, and musicals. On Broadway: The Girl From The North Country; The Inheritance; The Iceman Cometh; Sweat; Shuffle Along; The Crucible, Eclipsed; A Delicate Balance; A Raisin in the Sun; Lucky Guy; Chinglish; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; The Merchant of Venice; Hair; Passing Strange; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out (Tony Award, Best Play 2003); Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize, 2002); The Wild Party; Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk; On the Town; and The Tempest. She also cast the films The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, MURDER and murder, Saving Face and Ladybird. Radio Golf is her 12th collaboration with Two River Theater.
Two River Theater: Theo, King Hedley II, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Women of Padilla, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven Guitars, Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, and The School for Wives. Broadway (as Casting Associate): The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, A Delicate Balance, A Raisin in the Sun, Lucky Guy (Casting Assistant). Additional casting credits include work with Arena Stage, Center Theater Group, The Cherry Lane, Bedlam, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, LAByrinth, New Georges, TheaterWorks Hartford, and The Studio Theatre. Kate is a Casting Director at The Public Theater.
Production Stage Manager
Rick Steiger Two River: On Borrowed Time, Lisa Kron’s 2.5 Minute Ride. Broadway: An American om Paris; James Lapine’s Act One; War Horse; Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away; The Royal Family; 13: A New Musical; Rock ’N’ Roll; Frost/Nixon; Spring Awakening; The Woman In White; Caroline, or Change; Topdog/Underdog; Elaine Stritch: At Liberty; Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party; Epic Proportions; The Civil War; Titanic; Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. Off-Broadway: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bells Are Ringing (Encores!), Mother Courage and Her Children, This Is How It Goes, Radiant Baby. Regional: WARHOLCAPOTE (A.R.T.). Production Supervisor for the North American Tour & West End productions of An American in Paris.