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Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest"
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2011 8 years ago

Culture Worthy of your Calendar

'The Importance of Being Earnest' debuts at Orlando Shakes.
by: Josh Garrick Columnist

'The Importance of Being Earnest’

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train,” says one of Oscar Wilde’s Victorian characters in “The Importance of Being Earnest.” And every theater company should open its season with work as sensational as Oscar Wilde’s most famous — and funniest — play. The Orlando Shakespeare Theater begins its season with Wilde’s wonderfully romantic comedy of mistaken identities and comic twists, dishing up tongue-in-cheek social satire and high farce in one of the most celebrated plays in the English language. In performance at the Shakespeare Center until Sunday, Oct. 9, the production is directed by the Shakespeare Theater’s brilliantly inventive Jim Helsinger. Jack Smith’s magical costumes share the stage with Bert Scott’s scenic design for a comedy “true to the period.” The Shakespeare Theater is located in Loch Haven Park at 812 East Rollins St. Call 407-447-1700 or visit

Kevin and Kate collaborate

Singers/actors Kevin Kelly and Kate O’Neal return to the Winter Park Playhouse in a Cabaret performance called “Cocktails for Two” on Thursday, Sept. 22, and Friday, Sept. 23. As musical director for Beechwood Theatre Company in Newport, R.I., Kelly co-created “Cocktails,” which went on to play at Don’t Tell Mama’s in New York City. As a country singer, O’Neal was the opening act for Willie Nelson, Randy Travis and Tim McGraw. “Kate and Kevin’s wonderful chemistry, comic timing and vocals guarantee a fabulous evening at the Playhouse,” Playhouse Executive Director Heather Alexander said. Advance reservations are recommended. The Playhouse is located at 711 Orange Ave. in Winter Park. Call 407-645-0145 or visit

La Maschera Goes Country!

Some of the unlikeliest cow-hands in all of Florida will be roundin’ up drinks and celebratin’ at The Abbey in downtown Orlando on Saturday, Sept. 24, when the Downtown Arts District holds its eighth annual fundraiser, La Maschera Goes Country.

Contemporary country band Showdown will provide live entertainment while complimentary beverages and cuisine will be served to guests who are encouraged to dress in country attire. Tickets are $50 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Downtown Arts District. Visit or call 407-648-7060.

Opera lovers’ gala evening

Imagine an orchestral evening of music and song dedicated to opera’s greatest composers — Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi. Now choose overtures, arias and choruses from those composers’ greatest operas, and you’ll find them on a not-to-be-missed performance called “Puccini e Verdi,” which opens the Orlando Philharmonic’s season on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 8:30 p.m. Under the baton of conductor Christopher Wilkins, soprano Janette Zilioli, tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan and baritone Timothy Mix will join the Philharmonic along with the University of Central Florida choirs and the Florida Opera Theatre Chorus to perform Puccini and Verdi’s greatest hits at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. Call 407-770-0071 or visit

Free Museum Day

Smithsonian Magazine celebrates its annual “Museum Day” on Saturday, Sept. 24, with more than 1,500 museum and cultural venues across the United States. On this day, museums open their doors free of charge to visitors who present their free Smithsonian Museum Day admission ticket, good for two. Visit to print your pass for free admission.

Orlando Improv Festival

Over three zany nights in Winter Park, the second annual Orlando Improv Festival takes over the Winter Park Playhouse to present a series of hour-long improv sets by teams from Canada, Chicago, Washington, Missouri, Atlanta and Florida on Sept. 25-27. Headed up by the comic genius of Mark Baratelli, that’s three nights of more laughter than most of us can handle. And on Monday evening, Jana Banana of 104.1 The Philips Phile joins the festival in a special one-night-only performance. The Winter Park Playhouse is at 711 Orange Ave. in Winter Park. Visit

And not to be missed …

September is dining-savings month

With more than 60 Central Florida restaurants offering three-course, $30 dinners throughout the month of September, tourists and locals both are invited to expand their palates — and their savings — during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit

Who is Garrick?

Josh Garrick is a writer, photographer, educator, and fine art curator. He is a member of the Curatorial Council for the Museum of Florida Art. Garrick can be reached at [email protected] or 407-522-3906.

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