“The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+” (Now Playing)

Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ Tickets Off BroadwayA modern inclusive spin on Oscar Wilde’s classic tale, The Importance of Being Earnest, re-imagined with LGBTQ+ representation.

John “Jack” Worthing loves NYC and Gwyn Fairfax, and he can have both when he assumes the name of his made-up brother, Ernest. When Agernon, “Algy” (John’s best friend) falls in love with Cecil (John’s ward), he too decides to take on the name of Ernest. With John pursuing one man and Algy pursuing another, Lady Bracknell (who happens to be Gwyn’s mother) slowly unravels the odd strings of potential matchmaking. Of course, with two men and one name they share, what follows is a mess of imaginary identities, good natured gossip, and ridiculous romance. The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+ brings Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people ” to contemporary times with new laughter, color and heart.

“I’m proud to create a world where coming out is never a thing, allowing our heroes to be unapologetically themselves. We will root for each one of them in our own way as we identify their fallible struggles and triumphs as everyone’s allowed to be complete human beings in love.” –Maarten Cornelis

Original February 14th, 1895 Review from Opening Night –
“The Importance of being Earnest, belongs indubitably to the first class. It is delightful to see it, it sends wave after wave of laughter curling and foaming round the theatre…”

Now Playing Tuesdays at 7 PM. Contact Telecharge for Tickets

The Reviews Are Coming In :  Theatre Pizzazz

The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+

Jul 12, 2021 | Theater

Review By Michael Tingley

While flipping through the program before the show, I stumbled on two quotes that would capture the beauty of this adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest. The first is from Producer/Director/Lighting Designer Maarten Cornelis, “What if members of the LGBTQ+ community never had to step out of the closet because we never had to be in it in the first place?” The other is from Michael Morley’s bio — who plays the bubbly and wonderfully petulant Cecil Cardew — “Michael Morley is thrilled to make Oscar Wilde even more gay!”

Wilde, as we all know, was born too early, we’re still catching up to him. Morley reminds us that in Earnest, Wilde held himself back to fit the milieu. Cornelis wants to imagine Wilde freed from his time and goes beyond adaptation; Earnestly LGBTQ+ more than places the Victorian Earnest into the present, more than swaps paisley for Pride parades, opium dens for trap-houses, Victoria for Biden, and buttonholed green carnations for mesh tops and death drops. Instead, Earnestly LGBTQ+ imagines if Wilde, equal parts wit and iconoclast, wrote today — what would it be like? It asks, and it answers, fabulously. Let me explain.

First, all the relationships in the play are LGBTQ+. It is not such a simple change as one might expect as the actors are acutely aware. By making Earnest “even more gay” the show reveals how “gay” it was in the first place. The actors have found that the dialogue subtly changes when the relationship is queered, and the players emphasize these nuances wonderfully. Next, no one walks in this show, there’s only strutting (the stomping tantrums of Cecil Cardew being the exception). Lady Bracknell, played by Denise Turkan — think Eastern European/Turkish Devil Wears Prada Meryl Streep — has become Cerberus-like, splitting lines with her two tremendous…assistants? Lovers? It’s unclear but it’s clearly hilarious. J. Mahal and Lyman Heung sass, bend, and seduce their way around the stage.

Playing Miss Prism is the confident and dynamic Lauren E. King. The love affair between Prism and Dr. Chasuble, played by Marie Angelo, is moving in a play that ridicules moving emotions — or any movement at all (“It is awfully hard work doing nothing”). The cynical, if not positively pessimistic, Lane finds multiple facets when played by Alison Wien. The added scene where Mahal and Heung change Lane into Merriman, Jack Worthing’s butler in the country, gives the butlers a sexuality often ignored in other productions.

But if we’re speaking of seduction — and really one can’t avoid it when talking about this show — Kenon Veno is unsurpassed. He plays by far the most dynamic, attractive, (adjectives don’t do the performance justice) Gwyn I have ever had the fortune to watch. The charged scenes between Veno and Preston Fox, as John Worthing, and Michael Morley, Cecil Cardew, should not be missed. Always a favorite of mine, the scene between Cardew and Gwyn in the country garden is the best rendition I’ve seen. Morley and Veno are exceptional together, sharing an energy and play only possible to achieve by actors who love their roles and fit them.

Finally, the outrageous best friends turned brothers, John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, played by Preston Fox and Clint Blakely, interrogate, rouse, and trick each other. In most productions, Jack Worthing is an uptight Victorian wrestling with his desires. The Jack in Earnestly LGBTQ+ has to be all that in lace shirts with bleached hair. Fox pulls it all off though, and still manages to be an exceptionally engaging partner for Blakely’s Algernon, a character famous for his desire to eat everything – including the play. Blakely plays this voracious part exceptionally well, delivering some of Wilde’s most memorable lines with grace and humor.

Earlier I mentioned Cornelis was Producer/Director/Lighting Designer, each of these roles is as important as the last in this show. The lighting is playful, neon, romantic. The actors have fun competing for their best light. Earnestly LGBTQ+ is a romp, a delight, and an imaginative liberation of Wilde’s most loved work.

Produced by Write Act Repertory and Gatehouse Entertainment at The Actors Temple, 339 West 47 St., NYC

                      ++ (Follow Link)  Theatre Scene Review ++
“Wackiness abounds as Wilde’s classic is updated to present day NYC with same-sex couples, a Grindr reference, fashionistas and nightclub-style dances.” The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+ is a theatrical alternative romp.
++

The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+ Cast Members:

Preston Fox (John / Earnest), Clint Blakely (Algy), Kenon Veno (Gwen), Michael Morley (Cecil), Denise Turkan (Lady Bracknell), and Lauren E King (Miss Prism), Marie Anello (Dr. Chasuble), Samantha Randolph (Merriman / Lane), with J. Mahal (Dancer 1) and Lyman Heung (Dancer 2)

The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+ Creative Team

Author: Oscar Wilde
Director: Maarten Cornelis
Choreographer: J. Mahal and Lyman Heung
Producer: John Lant and Maarten Cornelis in association with Write Act Repertory and Gatehouse Entertainment
Press Agent: Daniel DeMello

+++

The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+ Related Links

*
Actors Temple Theatre

Located at 339 West 47th Street (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)

**Join Actors Temple Theatre’s  E-mail List for special discounts**

Like us on Face Book!

social_facebook_box_blue

Maria Caruso’s greatest solo creations “Metamorphosis” (Final Perf Oct 31)

And as in the line from Milton’s ode The Hymn: “The stars with deep amaze, stand fix’d in steadfast gaze,” Caruso’s dancing appeared to transfix the heavens and the sold-out audience.”

Now Playing Saturdays 5 PM / Sundays 2 pm. For Tickets Contact Telecharge

Metamorphosis at Actor’s Temple Theatre

Hailed as one of Maria Caruso’s greatest solo creations to date, Metamorphosis, has been performed across the globe since its premiere at Israel’s Karmiel Dance Festival in 2018. A dance theatre work, heavily influenced by the artist’s ballet and modern vocabularies, the audience is immersed in the emotion of the creator’s true story and selfless expression on the stage.

The evening length performance took root after Caruso’s extensive work with the Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company and the artistic evolution resulting from her performances of Martha Graham’s iconic solo Lamentation. Hungry to create an expansive work for the world’s stage that showcased the culmination of her over 20-year career as a classically trained ballet and contemporary dancer, Metamorphosis was born.

The work is a spiritual and emotional journey through life’s many transitions, and it is based on Caruso’s own experiences but broadened to be more universal. Throughout the performance the audience is immersed in Caruso’s drastic emotional shifts as she uses a series of costume changes into differently-colored dresses as a metaphor for turning points in her character’s journey.

“Embracing the gravity of the moment, Caruso unleashed in her solo a passionate portrayal of a woman knowledged in the heartaches and joys of life that was bursting with her anxieties, sadness, soaring giddiness and breathless embracing of love and desire.” – Steve Sucato

“…rage, sadness, sensuality. Caruso conveys these feelings with her entire body, which extends and contorts in ways that would leave us mere mortals breathless if we tried.” – Zachary Stewart (TheaterMania)

“At the last moment, Maria Angelica Caruso walks through the center aisle, striding past the fabrics tossed to the ground. Not only has she conquered the memory of a dancer’s past, she has also brought the audience through every step.”- Marcina Zaccaria (Theater Pizzazz)

Now Playing Saturdays 5 PM / Sundays 2 pm. For Tickets Contact Telecharge

Actors Temple Theatre


Located at 339 West 47th Street (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)

**Join Actors Temple Theatre’s  E-mail List for special discounts**

Like us on Face Book!

social_facebook_box_blue

“Housewives of Secaucus: What a Drag!” [Final Perf Oct 30]

“The Housewives of Secaucus: What a Drag!” Is now playing Saturdays at 8 pm. Final Performance October 30. Contact Telecharge to purchase Tickets

 The Housewives of Secaucus: What a Drag! is a dragulous new interactive musical comedy. The Housewives of Secaucus: What a Drag! spoofs those popular housewife shows you love to hate. Hold onto your wigs, because five queens of the Garden State are about to ‘werk-it’ at the annual Mad Hatters Brunch – competing for ‘Best Hat,’ ‘Woman of the Yearm’ and even mayor of ‘Beautiful’ Secaucus, New Jersey. Who will be unfriended? Who’s having an affair with who? Could the competition be… dun dun dun… rigged? Queens are spilling tea everywhere at this interactive extravaganza!

**

 

Cast Members:

Cammerron Baits
Jacob P.S. Lemmenes

Ryan Stutz
Philip McLeod

Sam Brackley
Korey Harlow
Joshua Oates

 

Creative Team
Author: Anthony Wilkinson
Director: Hank Kiraly
Social Media: Alex Carter Van Pelt

**

Actors Temple Theatre


Located at 339 West 47th Street (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)

**Join Actors Temple Theatre’s  E-mail List for special discounts**

Like us on Face Book!
social_facebook_box_blue

More Past Shows (10) from Actors Temple Theatre (2006 to 2011)

“The Big Voice: God or Merman”  2006-07  (Closed May 13, 2007)

Producers Murphy Cross, Paul Kreppel and Edmund Gaynes premiered the new musical The Big Voice: God or Merman — which began performances Nov. 25, 2006 at The Actors Temple Theatre — with co-stars and co-creators Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin. The Big Voice: God or Merman? played its final performance May 13, 2007 at The Actors Temple Theatre after  125 performances.
“There’s no business like show business–especially for two guys who meet in the Bermuda Triangle, fall in love, work in the theater…and live to tell about it! This high-energy, razzle-dazzle show chronicles the lives of a Baptist from Arkansas and a Catholic from Brooklyn who find eternal salvation in the temple of musical theatre.”

Neva Small: Not Quite an Ingenue” (Closed Sept. 30, 2007)

Broadway and film actress Neva Small (“Chava” in the film version of “Fiddler on the Roof”) starred in a musical show that whimsically traced the highlights of her life and career, offering some comfortable memories and more than a few surprises. 

NQ-CD-Cover

A devoted wife and mother, Neva shares the challenges and rewards of balancing a life in music with real life. The result is an entertainment that offers some comfortable memories and more than a few surprises, all delivered with the intimacy and joy of a seasoned performer. Musical Direction by Don Rebic Special Material by Jay Kerr Directed by Pamela Hall. It played Actors Temple Theatre from August 16, 2007 through September 30, 2007 .

The J.A.P Show ( Closed Oct. 15, 2007)

The J.A.P. Show, Jewish American Princesses of Comedy , starred Cory Kahaney, Jackie Hoffman, Cathy Ladman and Jessica Kirson  at the Actors Temple Theatre. It premiered April 4, 2007  and CLOSED on October 15, 2007.
1
About the show:  These four brassy and ballsy female comics give nachus to their female predecessors, demonstrating through their own zany stories and stand-up why the Jewish female comics of yore are treasured pioneers. Written by Kahaney and directed by Dan Fields, The J.A.P. Show includes vintage film and video clips of the original queens of comedy.
.

BABALU-CY: The Art of Desi Arnaz” [Closed Nov. 16, 2008]

BABALU-CY: The Art of Desi Arnaz”- the popular new musical starred Greg Purnhagen as Desi Arnaz, and resumed performances at The Actors Temple Theatre on Saturday, November 1st, 2008 . The musical, subtitled “The Art of Desi Arnaz,” began previews on August 23rd, 2008  and opened official on September 8, 2008. It CLOSED on November 16, 2008.
baba.jpg.pagespeed.ce.-CIUUV4bWq
Directed and choreographed by Gene Castle,BABALU-CY: The Art of Desi Arnaz” featured Emily Anne Smith as Lucy plus a seven piece Latin band under the direction of Roy Dunlap with musical arrangements by David Cook. [CLOSED]
 .

Don’t Leave it All to the Children (Nov. 22, 2009)

A new musical comedy revue, “DON’T LEAVE IT ALL TO YOUR CHILDREN!”, written and directed by SAUL ILSON, Musical numbers staged by Rudy Tronto  and starring Barbara Minkus (“Picon Pie”), Marcia Rodd (“The Last of the Red Hot Lovers”), Steve Rossi (of Allen & Rossi) and  Ronnie Schell (Gomer Pyle) made its New York debut on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at the Actors Temple Theatre. and closed on November 22, 2009
children-rack-card1

  Hebrew School Dropout, Or: How I Converted from Judaism to Catholicism and Back to Judaism AND Lost Those Stubborn Last 10 Pounds! ( Closed June 17, 2010

“Hebrew School Dropout, Or: How I Converted from Judaism to Catholicism and Back to Judaism AND Lost Those Stubborn Last 10 Pounds! “began previews at Actors Temple Theatre on April 24, 2010 and opened officially on May 19, 2010. It closed June 17, 2010
hebrew-school-small-rev
In April of 2010, Emmy Award winner Dave Konig brought his new show Hebrew School Dropout, …. to the Actors Temple Theatre, a biographical piece that was a journey of faith in which Konig explored being a Jew who doesn’t fit in.
Dave-Konig-0708llll

On Broadway, Konig appeared in Grease. On television, he hosted the late-night HBO comedy series Hardcore TV, wrote, produced, and starred in the talk show parody The Dave Konig Show on USA Network, and won his Emmys for his Konig Underground segments on Metro (NY) TV’s Subway Q & A.

“All American Girls” ( Closed October 28, 2010)

Layon Gray’s  “All American Girls” premiered Off-Broadway at the Actors Temple Theatre on August 29, 2010 at Actors Temple Theatre and CLOSED October 28, 2010 . OB-JS102_baseba_E_20100826112724-335x223
About The Play: “It is about a fictional World War II-era baseball team of young African-American women, the Red Diamonds, assembled for a Chicago exhibition game against a team of white women, the Rockford Peaches.”
.

“Zero Hour” 2010-11 (Closed Jan. 9, 2011)

Starting June 12, 2010, Kurt Peterson and Edmund Gaynes, who produced in association with The Peccadillo Theater Company, transferred Jim Brochu’s Zero Hour to the Actors Temple Theater where it continued its Off-Broadway run (Wednesdays at 3 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM.) Brochu’s tribute to the late stage legend Zero Mostel premiered Off-Broadway on November 14, 2009 at Theatre at Saint Clement’s, transferred to  DR2 Theatre Feb. 23, 2010 and continued its Off-Broadway run at the Actors Temple Theatre as of June 12, 2010 ( where it played until January 9, 2011).
zero with quotes
“Zero Hour is set in theatre legend Zero Mostel’s painting studio on West 28th Street, a naïve reporter attempts to interview the famously volatile artist, prompting an explosion of memory, humor, outrage and juicy backstage lore. Mostel is remembered for his comedic genius and his definitive roles, but in the 1950′s he was equally known for his place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist. Directed by three time Oscar-nominated film star Piper Laurie, Jim Brochu’s striking portrayal brings all of Mostel’s swagger, ferocity, intelligence and fantastic wit back to the stage in this volcanic tour-de-force.”
.

Sam’s Romance ( 2011)

sams-romance-big-150x150Sam’s Romance, a new play by award winning playwright Paul Manual Kane, opened June 5, 2011 at Actors Temple Theatre  and closed July 31, 2011. It was described as “an edgy comedy about connections. He’s Jewish, She’s Black, He’s 50, She’s 20, It’s 1953.

1248728-SamsRomance_CarolRosegg_large.jpg.300x207_q100An edgy comedy about connections. People who make the wrong connection. People who don’t connect no matter how they try. And, people who never connect but go on living with great expectations of connecting. People who make the wrong connection. People who don’t connect no matter how they try. And people who never connect but go on living with great expectations of connecting. The production featured a  set and lighting design by Josh Iacovelli; the cast that included Oni Brown, Lee Anne Hutchison, Ed Kershen, Todd Licea and Neva Small.

“Diary of a Catholic School Dropout” (2010-11) – Closed July 2011

Layon Gray’s “Diary of a Catholic School Drop Out”  Is an Abstract Choreo-play with motown music, dance, poetry, and lost love.
T40-19-Diary-of-a-Catholic-School-Drop-out
 It premiered Off-Broadway at Actors Temple Theatre on November 17, 2010 and CLOSED July 2011.
full
About the Play: “In two hours, at the age of 23, Alice Williams will be executed for the murder of her father. With little time on her side, she searches her soul for inner peace as her mind wanders back down the road that put her in this current predicament. This “choreoplay” by author/director Layon Gray sets out to memorialize a group of female reform school students.”

CLOSED July 20, 2013: “Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken and Latkes”

“Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken and Latkes” starred Rain Pryor and was produced by Edmund Gaynes in Association with Daryl Sledge/Mother’s Boy LLC.  Fried Chicken & Latkes  first preview date was July 21, 2012  and opened officially on August 6, 2012  at the Actors Temple Theatre .  It CLOSED on July 20, 2013. ( for information on future bookings please contact Gaynes Theatrical Booking )

About the Play: Fried Chicken & Latkes, written and conceived by Rain Pryor, is a hero’s journey from the standpoint of a person born into a world of “Us vs. Them” – but not quite an “us” and not quite a “them”. Told through heavy characterization and a few songs, the story takes us on a journey of racial identity, family, spiritual growth and love. She gives us a glimpse into the universe that was her childhood and is her life, morphing effortlessly, into the people around her, we all end up completely identifying with her story.

Rain Pryor grew up Black and Jewish in Beverly Hills. The year was 1969, the year was of shout and protest against mans inhumane spirit. Through hate, racism, fear, loss and love – Rain dives into her search for heritage and meaning by “becoming” her grandmother Bernice – discussing everything from her shana madel’s marriage to the black comedian Richard Pryor, to the fact that Jews have been Jews for six thousand seven hundred and sixty six year. She equally inhabits her other grandmother, Mamma – discussing “niggers”, white folk, and running a whore house in Peoria, IL, : these were two cultures that helped her to triumph over racial lines and stereotypes. Rain’s father, legendary actor/comedian, Richard Pryor, gave her a sharp sense of timing and character. Her mother imbued her life with political consciousness to stand up for what you believe in! Fried Chicken & Latkes, teaches us that living an authentic life is not about “where do I stand”- it’s about “ Here, I stand.” It will take you back in time and move you forward making you laugh, think and cry. [CLOSED]

CLOSED July 29, 2012: “Tin Pan Alley: The Original i Tunes”

Edmund Gaynes, in association with David Gersten presented “Tin Pan Alley (The Original iTunes)” which will officially opened at Actors Temple Theatre March 19, 2012 and closed on July 29, 2012. ( For information on future bookings please contact Gaynes Theatrical Booking )

ABOUT the PLAY: “The original iTunes, TIN PAN ALLEY is a stroll down musical memory lane, featuring classic song-and-dance tunes, a winning cast and a sunny vibe that helps make the production feel fresh. With hits that have become ingrained in our collective memory like “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “It Had To Be You,” and “Give My Regards to Broadway,” don’t be surprised if you catch yourself singing along with the cast. Filled with great songs and toe-tapping dance numbers, TIN PAN ALLEY is one street on which you’ll want to stay for an evening of musical enjoyment.”

Gene Castle and Karla Shook
Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

“…the real thrill of the evening is Castle’s choreography. It’s expert and beautifully executed. Tap dancing and marvelous moves like this don’t grow on many stages.” -Peter Filicia

Loni Ackerman, Gene Castle, Karla Shook and Brad Bradley
Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg