Broadway's 'Importance of Being Earnest' coming to movie theaters
Taking a page from the Metropolitan Opera and National Theatre multimedia playbook, producers of the Broadway revival of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" said that they will film the stage production to be shown in movie theaters around the world in June.
"Earnest," produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, has been a critical and popular hit on Broadway this season. The comedy is directed by Brian Bedford, who also appears on stage in the role of Lady Bracknell.
Producers said that "Earnest" will be filmed live with multiple high-definition cameras during three public performances on March 11 and 12 at the American Airlines Theatre in New York. The cinema screenings will take place from June 2 to 30 at theaters around the world.
Todd Haimes, the artistic director of the Roundabout, said that the company won't edit the performance footage together, but rather will choose one of the performances and use the entire recording intact.
The HD venture is being produced by the Roundabout as well as L.A. Theatre Works, the Southern California organization that works to preserve theatrical works of art through audio technology. BY Experience, based in New York, is also producing and will handle the taping and distribution.
L.A. Theatre Works previously teamed up with the Roundabout to record its productions "The Glass Menagerie" and "Speech & Debate."
The Roundabout is the latest performing arts organization to film its productions for distribution to movie theaters. The Metropolitan Opera in New York and the National Theatre in London have pioneered the push into cinemas, offering a wide line-up of screenings in recent seasons. Other art organizations that have made headway into movie theaters include the L.A. Philharmonic and La Scala in Milan, Italy.
"Earnest" also stars Dana Ivey, Paxton Whitehead, Santino Fontana, David Furr, Tim MacDonald, Paul O’Brien, Charlotte Parry and Sara Topham. The production opened in New York in January and recently extended its run through July 3.
-- David Ng
Photo: a scene from the Broadway production of "The Importance of Being Earnest," with Brian Bedford (left) and Charlotte Parry. Photo: Joan Marcus / AP