Circle in the Square Theatre, (6/16/1977 - 8/28/1977)

First Preview: May 27, 1977
Opening Date: Jun 16, 1977
Closing Date: Aug 28, 1977
Total Previews: 23
Total Performances: 85

Category: Play, Comedy, Revival, Broadway
Setting: Algernon Moncrieff's flat in Half-Moon Street, W., and the Manor House, Woolton.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Circle in the Square (under the direction of Theodore Mann and Paul Libin)

Produced by Circle in the Square (Theodore Mann: Artistic Director; Paul Libin: Managing Director)

Written by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Stephen Porter

Scenic Design by Zack Brown; Costume Design by Ann Roth; Lighting Design by John McLain; Hair and Wig Design by Paul Huntley; Assistant to Zack Brown: Edward Pisoni; Assistant to Ann Roth: Clifford Capone

Company Manager: William Conn; Associate Co. Mgr: Alan C. Wasser

Production Stage Manager: Randall Brooks; Stage Manager: James Bernardi

Circle in the Square General Press Representative: Merle Debuskey; Circle in the Square Press Representative: David Roggensack; Photographer: Martha Swope; Advertising: Don Josephson, Cathy Perry and Blaine-Thompson; Casting: Deborah Brown and Lynn Kressel

Opening Night Cast

Patricia ConollyHonorable Gwendolyn Fairfax
Lady Bracknell's daughter
John GloverAlgernon Moncrieff
James ValentineJohn Worthing, J.P.
Of the Manor House, Woolton, Hertfordshire
Kathleen WiddoesCecily Cardew
John Worthing's ward
Elizabeth WilsonLady Bracknell
Mary Louise WilsonMiss Prism
Miss Cardew's governess
G. WoodReverend Canon Chasuble, D.D.
Rector of Woolton
Munson HicksLane
Mr. Moncrieff's man-servant
Thomas RuisingerMerriman
Butler to Mr. Worthing

Standby: Dorothy Blackburn (Lady Bracknell, Miss Prism)

Understudies: Barbara Berge (Cecily Cardew, Honorable Gwendolyn Fairfax), Munson Hicks (Algernon Moncrieff), John Rose (John Worthing, J.P., Lane, Merriman) and Thomas Ruisinger (Reverend Canon Chasuble, D.D.)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1978 Best Scenic Design [nominee] 

Zack Brown


New York Daily News: "Wilde comedy in a loving revival"

That prince of high comedies, Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," glows engagingly in the revival that came to the uptown Circle in the Square last evening. Staged by Stephen Porter with considerable flair -- in fact, close to perfection -- and exquisitely designed, it also has the advantage of a spirited cast that rises to most of this brilliant play's many occasions.

If Elizabeth Wilson as Lady Bracknell is a bit uneasy in her mannerisms and not quite up to the haughty mark of that formidable woman, she serves. And if John Glover, an excellent young actor yet to realize his full dramatic potential, is a bit too youthfully American as the sportive Algernon, he is at the same time always spirited, attractive and knowing in this lively performance.

It is, however, on the one hand, James Valentine, who plays John, truly Ernest, Worthing, with full appreciation of the part's values, and, on the other, Patricia Conolly, who brings the right air of lemony self-assurance and gelid coquetry to the role of Gwendolen, who carry the evening. Valentine, worried lines creasing his spoiled features, is precise and terribly funny in a beautifully sustained performance. As for the petite Miss Conolly, she is so full of airs that it is only her delightful malice that keeps her on the ground. Not quite Jane Greenwood, mind you, but ah, so adorably artificial.

Kathleen Widdoes has never looked more exquisite nor acted with such charm that she brings to the part of that wise innocent, Cecily. Mary Louise Wilson is an amusing Miss Prism and G. Wood is a heartily foolish Rev. Chasuble. There is also a nice bit done at the very beginning by Munson Hicks as Algernon's frankly deceitful but coolly efficient manservant, Lane.

Zack Brown is responsible for the airy, flowery setting, all potted plants, flowers and other greenery, some trailing from pots hung on high and some laid out in shallow, tabled boxes for the last two acts, here set in the garden of Worthing's manor house.

Ann Roth's costumes are nicely varied and attractive and praise must be accorded Paul Huntley for his wigs and hair styling. The flattering lighting is by John McLain.

This "Importance of Being Earnest," though it drags ever so slightly from time to time, is in most respects a superior revival of the Wilde masterpiece; a pretty way to close a season and a delightful way to begin a summer.

New York Daily News

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