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Oscar Wilde

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ENTERTAINMENT
January 25, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Must perfection always be so temporary? More than we realize, replies Oscar Wilde in his play An Ideal Husband, if only because it never really exists. The road to such a conclusion is a nasty tale of ruthless blackmail unfolding in upper-class Victorian England that proceeds so confidently, you may leave the Walnut Street Theatre's handsome new production wondering why the play isn't done as often as The Importance of Being Earnest . The cast was uneven in significant places at Wednesday's opening.
NEWS
November 23, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Three previously unknown Oscar Wilde items have surfaced in the Free Library of Philadelphia's rare-book collection and are being greeted by scholars and aficionados as perhaps one of the most important Wilde discoveries in decades. The emergence of a typescript of the play Salome hand-corrected by Wilde, a 142-page personal notebook in which he drafted poems and doodled line drawings, and an unpublished four-page manuscript from his famous poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol have put the Free Library at the center of a happy storm of attention.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 4, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The new opera Oscar , about the demise of Oscar Wilde - poet, playwright, aesthete, wit - arrives Friday at the Academy of Music courtesy of Opera Philadelphia, and at an uncertain juncture: Though its authors and cast resolutely stand behind it, and the piece had good audience support at its 2013 Santa Fe Opera premiere, critics were underwhelmed. The 1895 trial for "gross indecency" that left Wilde jailed for two years and a broken man, dead at 46, is considered one of the great tragedies of British literature.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 3, 2000 | By Carlin Romano, INQUIRER BOOK CRITIC
A hundred years ago last Thursday, having declared that "the wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death," Oscar Wilde expired in the Hotel d'Alsace in Paris - disgraced, impoverished, humiliated, but with his unparalleled wit intact. Now, with the once scandalous writer's international reputation higher than it has ever been - his achievements as scintillating playwright, incomparable aphorism machine and inspirational modernist and gay icon unchallenged - the importance of being Oscar Wilde's only living grandson cannot be exaggerated.
NEWS
July 30, 1988 | By Carrie Rickey, Inquirer Movie Critic
"The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer," joked Oscar Wilde. Salome's Last Dance, a Ken Russell life-imitates-art potpourri incorporating Wilde's banned one-acter, Salome, lasts longer than a caprice and a lifelong passion put together, and unfortunately is no joke. Staged with the elan of a frat-house theatrical, Russell's movie has all the decadence of a hazing ritual. (Eek! Topless female spear-carriers roughing up John the Baptist!
ENTERTAINMENT
May 24, 2002 | By Carrie Rickey INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
In the fussy hands of writer/director Oliver Parker, The Importance of Being Earnest is a punishingly funny (emphasis on the pun) Oscar Wilde bonbon that arrives wrapped in an abundance of tissue and ribbons. Despite the sparkling source material in the 1895 farce subtitled A Trivial Play for Serious People, despite pitch-perfect performances by Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor and Reese Witherspoon, despite good taste and good will, this romp through Victorian parlors frequently falls flat on its rump.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 3, 1998 | By Clifford A. Ridley, INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
For those whose memories need jogging, a background note in the Playbill sets the scene: In 1895, his slander suit against the Marquess of Queensberry having collapsed, Oscar Wilde faced the likelihood of arrest on charges of gross indecency - in other words, homosexual activity - with a tawdry parade of former sex partners prepared to testify against him. At this moment, for a few hours, the famous aesthete had a choice - to flee England, his...
ENTERTAINMENT
February 11, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Opera Philadelphia's winning streak with modern opera came to an abrupt halt in the first act of its current production, Oscar . This new work about Oscar Wilde's "gross indecency" conviction was so one-dimensional in its first half Friday at the Academy of Music that the opera - which might as well be titled St. Oscar - forgot how to be theater. Those committed to attending should take heart: Act II has far more dramatic viability, though it may be too little too late. Premiered in Santa Fe in 2013, Oscar promised a signature role for countertenor David Daniels.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2002 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The Importance of Being Earnest is filled with fatuous people moving through a sublimely silly plot. But if a production of the Oscar Wilde play is to succeed, the actors can't play their characters as fools, nor can the inane story be patronized. It is important that the whole be presented, well, earnestly. In the Hedgerow Theatre production it is. Director Jared Reed makes sure his actors don't turn their characters into the caricatures found in some productions, and that they take themselves, their situation, and their fellow characters seriously.
NEWS
June 23, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Considering how little theater survives from the era of Oscar Wilde, the durability of his 1895 featherweight comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest is best left untested. Or so it seemed prior to the updating and gender reversal at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival on Thursday. Wilde words weren't always comfortably framed, but in a limited way the play thrived. Upon entering the Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 5, viewer expectations needed to be immediately adjusted.
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NEWS
February 22, 2015 | By Jim Rutter, For The Inquirer
In 1882, a young Oscar Wilde took a one-day break from his lecture tour of North America to visit the Camden home of Walt Whitman. Thematically, Michael Whistler's Mickle Street, now at the Walnut Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, depicts this event as a gay apologia and examination of the difficulties one faced living as a homosexual in 1880s England and America (which Wilde would find out for himself a few decades later). Dramatically and in content, Mickle Street is so contrived that Whistler might just as well have invented their historic meeting.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 11, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Opera Philadelphia's winning streak with modern opera came to an abrupt halt in the first act of its current production, Oscar . This new work about Oscar Wilde's "gross indecency" conviction was so one-dimensional in its first half Friday at the Academy of Music that the opera - which might as well be titled St. Oscar - forgot how to be theater. Those committed to attending should take heart: Act II has far more dramatic viability, though it may be too little too late. Premiered in Santa Fe in 2013, Oscar promised a signature role for countertenor David Daniels.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 4, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The new opera Oscar , about the demise of Oscar Wilde - poet, playwright, aesthete, wit - arrives Friday at the Academy of Music courtesy of Opera Philadelphia, and at an uncertain juncture: Though its authors and cast resolutely stand behind it, and the piece had good audience support at its 2013 Santa Fe Opera premiere, critics were underwhelmed. The 1895 trial for "gross indecency" that left Wilde jailed for two years and a broken man, dead at 46, is considered one of the great tragedies of British literature.
NEWS
December 5, 2014
ISSUE | POLICING Shocking progress When a Florida man who killed his mother with arrows was subdued by deputies, it was especially significant - because deputies used stun guns on the man, even though he threatened them with a knife. All police departments should consider replacing firearms with stun guns. Officers carry guns to protect both themselves and the public, but police are not hired to act as judge and jury. Stun guns do not kill or cause physical harm. Their charge does cause pain and briefly immobilizes, but someone with a stun gun certainly cannot impose a death sentence.
NEWS
November 23, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Three previously unknown Oscar Wilde items have surfaced in the Free Library of Philadelphia's rare-book collection and are being greeted by scholars and aficionados as perhaps one of the most important Wilde discoveries in decades. The emergence of a typescript of the play Salome hand-corrected by Wilde, a 142-page personal notebook in which he drafted poems and doodled line drawings, and an unpublished four-page manuscript from his famous poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol have put the Free Library at the center of a happy storm of attention.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 25, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Must perfection always be so temporary? More than we realize, replies Oscar Wilde in his play An Ideal Husband, if only because it never really exists. The road to such a conclusion is a nasty tale of ruthless blackmail unfolding in upper-class Victorian England that proceeds so confidently, you may leave the Walnut Street Theatre's handsome new production wondering why the play isn't done as often as The Importance of Being Earnest . The cast was uneven in significant places at Wednesday's opening.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 3, 2011 | By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer
Having the formidable Lady Bracknell among us - she appears in two of the three acts of Oscar Wilde's stylish comedy The Importance of Being Earnest - is to be faced down by Victorian London in its most elite, repressed, judgmental, haughty, and very funny form. She has been famously played over the last 106 years, since Earnest first opened in London, by leading ladies of every decade and by leading men, too - Brian Bedford is elegantly portraying her nightly on Broadway this season.
NEWS
June 23, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Considering how little theater survives from the era of Oscar Wilde, the durability of his 1895 featherweight comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest is best left untested. Or so it seemed prior to the updating and gender reversal at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival on Thursday. Wilde words weren't always comfortably framed, but in a limited way the play thrived. Upon entering the Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 5, viewer expectations needed to be immediately adjusted.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 15, 2004 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
We all change as we age, but few change as completely as Lord Alfred Douglas, the young man whose love affair with Oscar Wilde led to the celebrated writer's spectacular downfall. Openly homosexual, profligate and reckless, Douglas married soon after Wilde's death in 1900. Then he joined the Catholic Church and, after separating from his wife, became a declared celibate. Although Wilde's denouement - his career-ending jail sentence and early death - began with a libel suit against Douglas' disagreeable, vengeful father, Douglas himself turned against Wilde, becoming difficult and highly litigious.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2002 | By Douglas J. Keating INQUIRER THEATER CRITIC
The Importance of Being Earnest is filled with fatuous people moving through a sublimely silly plot. But if a production of the Oscar Wilde play is to succeed, the actors can't play their characters as fools, nor can the inane story be patronized. It is important that the whole be presented, well, earnestly. In the Hedgerow Theatre production it is. Director Jared Reed makes sure his actors don't turn their characters into the caricatures found in some productions, and that they take themselves, their situation, and their fellow characters seriously.
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