All Female Cast Takes On The Importance of Being Earnest at The Playhouse

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Only one other writer could compete with Shakespeare for the title of the most quoted playwright, and that is Oscar Wilde. Long Beach playhouse takes on an all female cast with The Importance of Being Earnest directed by ‘Phie Mura in the Studio. 

The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s last play and has been hailed as one of the cleverest comedies in the English language. Dapper Jack Worthing (Deva Marie Gregory) and Algernon (Fiona Austin), his compatriot in cavorting, have fallen for two ladies who have their hearts set on marrying a man named Ernest. In order to pursue the romance, both men concoct an elaborate deception which leads to an even more outlandish surprise when the formidable Lady Bracknell (Gaelyn Wilkie) starts sleuthing about for the far-fetched truth.

Wilde was a great admirer of the social commentary plays of Shaw and Ibsen, The Importance of Being Earnest was written after Wilde’s series of “Society Plays” where the characters all had great secrets they were trying to protect. The play was a departure from his previous works in that Wilde set aside the earnest social commentary and focused on his humor and triviality he saw in his society. Wilde himself called the play “A trivial play for serious people,” It is indeed that.

It says: `Look at the things we take seriously and look at the things we treat as trivial….I’m going to invert that, and that’s going to be a reflection of our society.’ ‘Phie Mura, director, says, “People are people. They may allow themselves to be distracted by all manner of perceived differences but, try as they might to distinguish and separate themselves from one another, they will not change that simple unifying fact.” And so we see the serious becoming the trivial and the trivial, well you know.

The Importance of Being Earnest was written during the period of Wilde’s life when he had his own secrets. A happily married man with children, Wilde also conducted a whole other life with Lord Alfred Douglas. The Importance of Being Earnest opened in 1895 and shortly thereafter the great scandal of Wilde’s life became public. He was imprisoned, his name removed from the play, and Wilde never came back as a literary force within his lifetime.

The cast, directed by LBP favorite, ‘Phie Mura, are a delightful mix of returning and new to the Playhouse actors.

A graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, her favorite roles include Lady Anne in Richard III, Imogen in Cymbeline, Pompey in Measure for Measure, and Regan in King Lear.

Alyssa Garcia (LANE/MERRIMAN)
Alyssa is thrilled to be returning to the Playhouse, previously seen in Psycho Beach Party (Provoloney) & How to Succeed…

Deva Marie Gregory (JOHN WORTHING, JD)
Notable roles include Clara in Pygmalion at LBP, Meg in Little Women, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Flora/Belladova’s vocalist in Phantom, Chris in Rumors, and Madeline in The Women of Lockerbie.

Her credits include Cory (Barefoot in the Park), Penelope (Penelopiad), Jenny (Distracted), and the 2nd Wyrd Sister (Macbeth)

Gaelyn Wilkie (LADY BRACKNELL)
Previous work includes: A Streetcar Named Desire (Eunice Hubbell), Seven Redneck Cheerleaders (Liz/Victoria), Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime (Sybil Merton), and Really Really (Grace Byrnes) at LBCC.

Amara Phelps (CECILY CARDEW)
Amara has appeared in several other plays at LBP, including Pygmalion, Psycho Beach Party and The Real Thing. Other favorite roles include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire and Dottie inOut of the Frying Pan at LBCC.

Loren Bowen (MISS PRISM)
She has appeared previously (as Loren McJannett-Taylor) in The Real Thing (Annie), Twelfth Night(Maria), Tartuffe (Dorine), and The Rainmaker (Lizzie).

Lisa has appeared in Around the World in 80 Days, A Christmas Carol, and The Butler Did it.

The Importance of Being earnest opens Sept. 3 and runs through Oct. 1

Pay what you can Thursday Sept. 1- community can see this production for whatever they can afford
Two for One Preview Friday Sept. 2 – Tickets are $12.00
Opening Night Champagne Reception with cast on Sept. 3- Tickets are $27.00


Friday: Adults are $20.00, Seniors $18.00, and Students $14.00

Saturday and Sunday: Adults are $24.00, Seniors $21.00, and Students $14.00.

Tickets are available at, or by calling 562-494-1014, option 1.

Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, CA, 90804, right across from the Long Beach Recreation golf course. The Playhouse is community-supported theatre with programs and events that cut across age, gender, ethnic, and cultural boundaries.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The box office is open Wednesday-Saturday from 3:00-8:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00-2:00 pm on scheduled matinees.

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