Reinvented Oscar Wilde classic opens at Baltimore Center Stage

Acclaimed theater director Jenny Koons has breathed new life into Oscar Wilde’s timeless piece, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” with her latest production at Baltimore Center Stage. This fresh take on Wilde’s celebrated comedy unfolds the clever and amusing escapades of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrief, who invent fictitious personas to escape their mundane lives. This special presentation, co-produced with Pittsburgh Public Theater, runs through May 26.

Koons, both directing and bringing this version to the stage, expressed her excitement about returning to the realm of comedy, especially during a period filled with significant global concerns. “Despite how our senses of humor have changed culturally, this humor from the 1800s is still so funny, even now,” Koons reflected, recalling her first encounter with the play as a high school student in Minneapolis and its surprising ability to delight contemporary audiences, including teenagers.

Koons is celebrated for her innovative theatrical contributions nationwide, including her groundbreaking 2022 adaptation of “Oedipus” at Deaf West Theatre and the immersive musical “Head Over Heels” at Pasadena Playhouse. Her return to Baltimore Center Stage follows her successful direction of “Men in Boats” in 2019.

Joseph McGranaghan, Dylan Marquis Meyers, and David Ryan Smith

The ensemble for this innovative rendition features Veronica del Cerro as Gwendolyn, Paul Deo Jr. taking on the role of Jack Worthing, Susan M. Lynskey as Miss Prism, Alex Manalo as Cecily Cardew, Joseph McGranaghan playing both Lane and Merriman, Dylan Marquis Meyers as Algernon, and David Ryan Smith portraying Lady Bracknell.

Supporting Koons’ vision is a talented team of creatives, including Jason Ardizzone-West managing set design, Annmarie Duggan overseeing lighting, Hugh Hanson in charge of costumes, and the sound and music crafted by UptownWorks’ Daniela Hart, Bailey Trierweiler, & Noel Nichols.

The production also benefits from the expertise of Associate Director B Klemeyer, Stage Manager Natalie Hratko, and Assistant Stage Manager Kelly Haywood.

Tickets for this must-see production at Center Stage are available now. Interested attendees can purchase them online at centerstage.org, by phone at 410.332.0033, or at the box office at 700 North Calvert Street.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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