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Journeyman Theatre Company opens with ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

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Although written and first performed in Victorian England, The Importance of Being Earnest never gained fame until later but countless productions and adaptations of the Oscar Wilde comedy classic continue to surface and entertain audiences.

According to Wiikpedia, Wilde’s comedy only played 86 performances before he was imprisoned for his homosexuality and the play closed as a result. Later, the play became a huge success on stages worldwide and Wilde stands as a successful writer of farce.

Journeyman Theatre Company opens its season with Wilde’s hilarious play, The Importance of Being Earnest on Feb. 12, at the Just Off Broadway Theater, according to Ian R. Crawford, director. The special Valentine’s day performance marks the 119 anniversary of the first performance of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895.

Crawford praises and notes Wilde’s irreverence for everything serious and goes even beyond that to another atmosphere in his bold reimagined production, featuring all cross-gender casting to highlight Wilde’s skewering of traditional gender roles. The new concept, Crawford thinks, will cause even more fun for the audience.

“If you are already enraptured with the play,” Crawford said, “or if you have never seen it before, you will not want to miss this unique, lush production.

“Behaving well is very important but having fun is much nicer. Meet Jack and Algernon, two of London’s most eligible bachelors. Algernon is a bit of a bad boy, Jack, is much more Earnest. Join these two misfits on their tangled quest for love. Will they get the girls, or be thwarted by the fearsome Lady Bracknell?”

The comedy of trivial manners by the iconic bad boy of Victorian England includes abandoned babies, mistaken identities, covert engagements, wooing suitors, and witty wordplay ever written in the English language, Crawford said.

The cast features Zack Chaykin, Margaret Hanzlick, Heather Hare, Lucas T. McVey, Elissa Schrader, Justin Speer, Matt Sweeten and Chelsey Tighe.

Set and costume design by Ian R. Crawford, sound design by Rustin R. Bolejack and lighting by Kerry Chafin. Jonathan Jensen is assistant director and dialect coach, Justin Cave is dramaturg, and Christopher Bowe is the stage manager.

Director Ian R. Crawford’s work has been seen in New York, San Francisco, and recently in the Kansas City Fringe Festival

Tickets available at boxofficetickets.com or by calling 1 (800) 494-8497. Performances run Feb. 12-15 at 7:30p.m., Sun., Feb 15, at 2:30p.m., Feb. 19 -22 at 7:30p.m., and Sun., Feb 23, at 2:30p.m. Just Off Broadway Theater is located at: 3051 Central Ave. Kansas City, MO 64108 For further information check the website: www. journeymantheatre.com

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