February 12, 2016

Todd Marshall
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Development
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

American Shakespeare Center 2015-16 Dangerous Dreams Tour Brings The Importance of Being Earnest to Texarkana

Texarkana, TX – On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, Texarkana Independent School District will host the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) 2015/16 Dangerous Dreams Tour production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

The performance will be held in the Sullivan Performing Arts Center & John Thomas Theatre, 3941 Summerhill Road. Doors open and pre-show music begins at 6:30 p.m. with the performance beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase at the Texarkana Independent School District Administrative Office, 4241 Summerhill Road, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oscar Wilde’s brilliant and wicked comic masterpiece defines wit and style. This “trivial comedy for serious people” is at once blissfully silly and outrageously shrewd. One hundred and twenty years after its first performance, The Importance of Being Earnest continues to delight audiences with its playful language, charming characters and biting look at contemporary society.

The American Shakespeare Center brings a unique performance style to the John Thomas Theatre, blending Shakespeare’s stage craft with modern sensibility. The company uses Shakespeare’s staging conditions including universal lighting, minimal sets, doubling, cross-gender casting and music. In Shakespeare’s day, the company couldn’t turn the lights out on the audience; actors and audience shared the same light. Leaving the lights on allows for a type of audience contact rarely seen in modern day theatre. Audience members play the roles written for them: Roman plebeians and senators in Julius Caesar, Henry’s army in The Life of King Henry the Fifth, and, spectators in the tangled and hilarious comedy of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Guest Director Kevin Rich joins the ASC from the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. He says of this production, “What I love about Earnest is that while it asks big questions about the masks we all wear and the ways we distract ourselves from reality, its characters don’t wallow in despair or rage against the machine. The play is hilarious; Wilde’s incredible humor lifts us up, and lets us laugh at ourselves.”

The special performance from American Shakespeare Center is funded through the generosity of an anonymous donor from Bancorp South along with the support of the Texas High School Tiger Theatre Company and Tiger Theatre Booster Club.

The 2015/16 Dangerous Dreams Tour production of The Importance of Being Earnest features ASC on tour veterans Tim Sailer as Jack, Josh Innerst as Algernon, Susie Parr as Cecily Cardew, Andrew Goldwasser as Lady Bracknell and newcomer Zoe Speas as Gwendolen Fairfax. Rounding out the cast are Chris Bellinger, Cordell Cole, Jessica Lefkow, Ross Neal, Aleca Piper and Patrick Poole.
Since 1988, the American Shakespeare Center has toured the country with shows incorporating Shakespeare’s staging conditions. Based out of Staunton, VA, the company mission is to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining" and by The Boston Globe as "phenomenal…bursting with energy." Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at

For more information on tickets and the Texarkana performance, contact Tina Veal-Gooch at 903.794.3651 ext. 1013 or

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AT 903.794.3651 EXT. 1013

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