Press Release--Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
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An Ideal Husband launches PICT’s “Wilde Affairs”
Scandalous behavior and political intrigue give Oscar Wilde’s
social comedy a contemporary relevance
Pittsburgh, PA – April 25, 2008. A politician embroiled in a moral dilemma takes center stage in Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre’s upcoming production of An Ideal Husband, by Oscar Wilde. The show runs May 8th through May 31st in the Henry Heymann Theatre at the Stephen Foster Memorial on Forbes Avenue in Oakland.
The notoriously straight-laced politician Robert Chiltern is on the verge of obtaining cabinet rank, when a mysterious woman from his past emerges and threatens to reveal his darkest secret. Unbeknownst to his adoring wife and admiring friends, Chiltern launched his career by less-than-honorable means. Mrs. Cheveley – the woman who holds his fate in her hands – is willing to keep his secret safe for a price. To save himself from discovery, he must tarnish his honor once again. His neer-do-well friend Lord Goring holds both the key to Chiltern’s salvation and to Chiltern’s sister Mabel’s heart.
An Ideal Husband is directed by Andrew S. Paul, with scenery by Gianni Downs, lighting by Erick Leininger, costumes by Joan Markert, and sound design by Zachary Brown. The production stars David Whalen, Nike Doukas, Paul Todaro, and Beth Hylton.
Playwright Oscar Wilde was born October 16, 1854 in Dublin to William and Jane Francesca Wilde. Wilde studied at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford, then moved to London where he began his literary career. In addition to poetry, his published works include the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), a series of stories for children, and a number of dramatic works, including Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), An Ideal Husband (1895), The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), A Woman of No Importance (1893), and Salome (written in 1891 but banned by the censor; first produced in Paris in 1896). He married Constance Lloyd in 1884, and his sons Cyril and Vyvyan were born in 1885 and 1886, respectively. He gained celebrity status in his own time, first as a notorious wit and member of the aesthetic movement, and later for his conviction on a charge of gross indecency (homosexuality) for which he served time in prison. He died in Paris in 1900, three years after his release from Reading Prison.
Director Andrew S. Paul is the founder and artistic director of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre. Last season for PICT he directed Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and David Hare’s Stuff Happens and Via Dolorosa. He recently traveled to Poland, where he directed and collaborated with Hare on the non-English language premiere of Stuff Happens at the Slaski Teatr in Katowice.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2007 Performer of the Year David Whalen plays Sir Robert Chiltern. Whalen played Edgar in the recent PICT production of King Lear, and was seen last season as George W. Bush in Stuff Happens, Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Padraic Osbourne in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. A Pittsburgh native, Whalen is a graduate of Point Park University and the North Carolina School for the Arts. He played Joe Pitt in the American regional premiere of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at Houston’s Alley Theatre and toured Europe with the production. He also appeared in the Arden/City Theatre co-production of Michael Hollinger’s Opus.
Nike Doukas makes her PICT debut as the seductive and deceitful Mrs. Cheveley. An MFA graduate of the American Conservatory Theatre program, Doukas has performed at many of America’s most respected regional theatres. Her credits include Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, and Blythe Spirit at South Coast Repertory; The Wood Demon and Henceforward at the Mark Taper Forum; Sea of Tranquility and Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Globe; and The Importance of Being Earnest at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Her recent television and film credits include Shark, Women’s Murder Club, Numbers, Boston Legal, and Desperate Housewives (recurring.).
Paul Todaro, who recently played Edmund in PICT’s production of King Lear, plays Lord Goring, resident man-about-town and confidante to Sir Robert. Last season for PICT, he played Lövborg in Hedda Gabler, and Elyot in Private Lives, and he was Gabriel in PICT’s 2004 production of James Joyce’s The Dead. Todaro spent ten years in New York with Independent Theatre Company where his acting credits included the title roles in Hamlet, MacBeth, and his directing credits included the plays of Beckett, Brecht, and Ionesco.
Beth Hylton returns to PICT after playing Amanda in the 2007 production of Private Lives. Her most recent performances include Catharine in Suddenly Last Summer at the Hippodrome State Theatre, Sonia in Life x 3 at Gulfshore Playhouse, and Helen in And a Nightingale Sang at Everyman Theatre. She has an MFA in acting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s professional actor training program.
The cast of An Ideal Husband also includes Anwen Darcy, James FitzGerald, E. Bruce Hill, Kathleen Huber, Dek Ingraham, Jay Keenan, Catherine Moore, and Mary Rawson
Scenic designer Gianni Downs designed the 2007 PICT productions Pride and Prejudice, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Private Lives, Nine Parts of Desire, and Stuff Happens, as well as the 2006 PICT production of Boston Marriage. Costumes are designed by Joan Markert (School for Scandal), lighting by Erick Leininger (Boston Marriage), and sound by Zachary Brown (Pride and Prejudice, Private Lives).
An Ideal Husband is the first in a series of three plays in the PICT season that showcase Wilde’s diverse artistry as a writer. Wilde’s beautiful children’s tales are brought to life through spoken word, song, and dance in the world premiere of Wilde Tales, a musical by Bruce Dow adapted from Wilde’s stories “The Happy Prince” and “The Selfish Giant,” and directed by Sheila McKenna. In “The Happy Prince,” the prince’s statue sits high on a pedestal from whence he sees the misery of the people he once ruled. Desperate and forlorn, he enlists the help of a friendly swallow to distribute his jewels and gold leaf among the poor…but to what end? “The Selfish Giant” tells the touching story of a giant who prohibits children from playing in his garden. It is always winter inside his walls… until his heart is softened by a very special boy.
The first half of Wilde Tales, “The Happy Prince,” is this year’s recipient of the Stanier Arts Award and will be presented as part of the International Children’s Festival from May 14 to May 18 at Bellefield Hall. PICT will then present Wilde Tales in its entirety from May 22 to May 31 at the Charity Randall Theatre.
Wilde’s talent as a writer in verse is showcased in Salome, running June 12th through the 28th in the Charity Randall Theatre and directed by Alan Stanford. Salome is not a woman who takes rejection lightly! When Jokanaan rebuffs her advances, she reacts by succumbing to her step-father Herod’s request that she dance for him. Herod offers her the world on a plate, but she has something else in mind. PICT presents Oscar Wilde’s retelling of the Biblical story of Salome and John the Baptist, reimagined by director Alan Stanford, and with an original score composed and performed live by Roger Doyle.
An Ideal Husband runs May 8th through May 31st in the intimate Henry Heymann Theatre, located in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland. The Wednesday night preshow discussion on May 14th is sponsored by UPMC. A special student matinee is scheduled for Thursday, May 8 at 10 a.m. Tickets for public performances are $47 to $17 and are available by calling ProArts Tickets at 412-394-3353 or visiting www.picttheatre.org. To schedule students into the matinee performance, contact PICT education director Michele McClendon at 412-561-6000 x208, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Ideal Husband Fact Sheet
An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Andrew S. Paul
Henry Heymann Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland
Cast: Anwen Darcy, Nike Doukas, James FitzGerald, E. Bruce Hill, Kathleen Huber, Beth Hylton, Dek Ingraham, Jay Keenan, Catherine Moore, Mary Rawson, Paul Todaro and David Whalen
Design Team: Zachary Brown (Sound), Gianni Downs (Scenic), Erick Leininger (Lighting), Joan Markert (Costumes)
Performance Dates and Times:
First Week: Thursday – Friday, May 8 - 9, Previews, 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 10, Opening Night, 8 p.m. (followed by reception)
Sunday, May 11, 2 p.m. (followed by Mother’s Day treats with the cast!)