UMSL to present ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

Algernon (Ben Watts) kisses the hand of Cecily (Joanna Brown) while Jack (Sean Green) looks on.

“The Importance of Being Earnest,” the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ spring theater production, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. March 4 through 6 and 10 through 13 in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $5 to $10.

Produced by the Department of Theater, Dance and Media Studies at UMSL, the play will feature acting by students from the university, led by Sean Green, Ben Watts and Joanna Brown.

UMSL’s adaptation of this classic play takes Oscar Wilde’s beloved characters – Jack, Algernon, Gwendolyn, Cecily, Lady Bracknell — and transplants them from 1895 London to 1960 New York. Jason Cannon, visiting assistant professor of theater at UMSL and the play’s director, describes this version of the classic comedy of love, identity and manners as “Earnest” meets “Mad Men.” He leads a production staff of UMSL theater faculty members and students and a cast of nine UMSL students.

Cannon currently is up for a pair of Kevin Kline Awards for his work on Dramatic License Productions’ inaugural production, “Doubt.” He is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a play for his portrayal of Father Flynn and Outstanding Director of a Play. Winners of the fifth annual Kevin Kline Awards will be announced March 22.

The Touhill is on UMSL’s North Campus, One University Blvd. in St. Louis, Mo. 63121. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is sponsored by the College of Fine Arts and Communication at UMSL. Visit or call 314-516-4949 for more information.

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