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Stepping Out

World premiere of ‘Being Earnest’ debuts this week


Photo By: Tracy Martin/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Tracy Martin/Special To The Town Crier

Lady Bracknell (Maureen McVerry, center) is horrified by the antics of Jack Worthing (Hayden Tee, left) and her daughter Gwendolyn (Mindy Lym, right) in world premiere musical “Being Earnest,” presented by TheatreWorks today through April 28 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

TheatreWorks’ world premiere of “Being Earnest” – the new musical from Tony Award-nominated composer/lyricist Paul Gordon – is scheduled to open this week and run through April 28 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

A hit at TheatreWorks’ 2012 New Works Festival, the play is a lyrical adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The musical resets the romantic comedy of mistaken identities in 1964 London’s swinging Carnaby Street

In the midst of a London buzzing with mod fashion, new music and evolving ideas of morality, young friends Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff find themselves adopting the pseudonym “Ernest” for various complicated reasons. The two women they court both confess to loving the name as much as the man. The four unexpectedly meet at Worthing’s country home under the disapproving eye of Lady Bracknell, and chaos ensues.

The cast features several actors reprising their roles from the staged reading of “Being Earnest” in last summer’s New Works Festival.

Hayden Tee, returning as the mischievous Jack Worthing, has appeared in productions with Alliance Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Opera Australia and New Zealand’s Court Theatre.

Riley Krull, seen around the Bay Area in productions at the Magic Theatre, 42nd Street Moon and Diablo Theatre Company, returns as the innocent Cecily Cardew.

The role of the stern Lady Bracknell will once again be played by Maureen McVerry, whose credits include roles at TheatreWorks, American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company and the Magic Theatre.

Diana Torres Koss, who has been seen in several productions at TheatreWorks, reprises her role as Cecily’s tutor Miss Prism.

Brian Herndon, who has appeared in roles with TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company and the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, returns as Dr. Chausable and Lane.

Robert Kelley, founding artistic director of TheatreWorks, directs “Earnest.”

The production includes musical direction by William Liberatore, scenic design by Joe Ragey, costume design by Fumiko Bielefeldt, lighting design by Steven B. Mannshardt and sound design by Jeffrey Mockus.

Composer/lyricist/book writer Paul Gordon was nominated for a 2001 Tony Award for his score for the Broadway musical “Jane Eyre.” He won the 2007 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for his book for the musical “Emma,” which was developed and received its world premiere at TheatreWorks.

Composer Jay Gruska is a hit songwriter (for Bette Midler, Chicago, Michael Jackson, Amy Grant, Robert Palmer and others) and a three-time Emmy award-nominated film/TV composer. “Being Earnest” is his third theatrical musical collaboration.

Previews are scheduled 8 p.m. today through Friday; the musical is set to open at the same time Saturday. Future shows are slated 2 and/or 7 p.m. Sundays (no 7 p.m. show April 28), 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 and/or 8 p.m. Saturdays (no 2 p.m. show April 27).

Tickets are $23-$73,

For advance tickets and more information, call 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.

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