One of Play Director Darryl Maximilian Robinson's Most Favorite Assignments Was Staging The Excaliber Shakespeare Company's 1995 100th Anniversary Revival Production of The Marvelous Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest With A Multiracial Cast At The Hidden Stages Theatre of Chicago Edit
"Director Darryl Maximilian Robinson emphasizes the more farcical aspects of the plot. The performances, played in a melange of natural accents, range from Kelvin Blunt's Chicago-style Algernon Moncrieff to Phillip Gibbs' downstage John Worthing to Doris Craig Norris' deep-south Lady Bracknell to the exquisite Myra Oiga's Filipino Cecily. The Scott Joplin incidental music ( performed by Dick Haymes and James Levine ) gives the action a silent movie giddiness." -- Mary Shen Barnidge, The Chicago Reader, January 26, 1995.
Nearly 25 years ago, during January and February of 1995, Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago Founder, Artistic Director, Producer and Principal Actor Darryl Maximilian Robinson experienced one of his all-time favorite directing assignments when he staged a 100th anniversary revival production of the brilliantly witty Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest for the ESC with a multiracial cast at The Hidden Stages Theatre of Chicago, just outside of the Chinatown neighborhood of The Windy City . Mr. Robinson was blessed to have a gifted cast headed by Joseph Jefferson Citation Award-winning actress Doris Craig Norris as Lady Bracknell, joined on stage by Phillip Gibbs and Kevin Adair alternating as John P. Worthing, Kelvin Blunt and Daniel Grillo alternating as Algernon Moncrieff, Myra Oiga as Cecily Cardew, Andrew Beaman as The Reverend Canon Frederick Chasuble, D.D., Bridget Taylor as Miss Laetitia Prism, Jason Michael Taylor as Lane and Gregory Christopher Armstrong as Merriman. The production earned critical praise and was well received by Windy City theatregoers. It is significant to note, however, that during the run of the production, leading lady Norris had to miss a performance as Lady Bracknell. And since no other performer was available at the time who knew all the role's lines and all the role's blocking, Darryl Maximilian Robinson played the part of Lady Bracknell for one, sold-out Sunday matinee ( during which Ms. Norris showed up late in the show...and took notes). At the end of the ESC's 1995 season at Hidden Stages Theatre of Chicago ( which also included Mr. Robinson directing and appearing as Duke Prospero in a multiracial revival staging of William Shakespeare's The Tempest ), Darryl Maximilian Robinson received a 1995 Certificate of Recognition from WKKC Radio Chicago's Critic Corner Producer and Co-Host Bill Lattin, acknowledging his 20 Years of Service To The American Theatre.
AN EARNEST DIRECTOR ALUM'S UPDATE!:
Most recently, during an extended year-long visit to his original hometown of Chicago, Darryl Maximilian Robinson garnered attention for his well-received portrayal of the marvelous dual roles of Mr. William Cartwright, Your Chairman of The Music Hall Royale and The Mayor Thomas Sapsea of Cloisterham, England in skilled Director / Music Director Robert-Eric West's 2018 Saint Sebastian Players of Chicago Revival Production of Rupert Holmes' classic Tony Award-winning Best Musical Mystery Whodunit The Mystery of Edwin Drood presented at the lovely, more than a century old St. Bonaventure Church in the West Lakeview neighborhood of The Windy City. Mr. Robinson's performance was critically-praised, documented earlier this year by Wikipedia, and in November of 2019: The Year of Chicago Theatre, captured for him a 2019 Chicago BroadwayWorld.com Regional Theatre Award Nomination for Best Performer In A Musical or Revue ( Resident Non-Equity ). The SSP Revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood received a grand total of Seven 2019 Chicago BroadwayWorld.com Regional Theatre Award Nominations including: Best Performer In A Musical or Revue ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Sarah Myers for her fine portrayal of Edwin Drood and Miss Alice Nutting; Best Direction of A Musical or Revue ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Robert-Eric West; Best Choreography ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Tamara Drew; Best Costume Design ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Sandra Leander; Best Set Design ( Resident Non-Equity ) for Emil Zbella; and Best Ensemble of A Musical ( Resident Non-Equity ) for THE ENTIRE CAST! Those who love musical theatre performance in The Windy City that would like to honor and support the work of Mr. Robinson and his fellow nominees of Rupert Holmes' brilliant but seldom performed stage classic with their votes for this critically-praised Non-Equity professional theatre production may do so by visiting: BroadwayWorld.com Chicago Regional Theatre Awards Voting!
Your Continued Support of The Tradition of Non-Equity Professional Theatre In Chicago Is Appreciated!
This theatre article is provided in acknowledgement of 2019: The Year of Chicago Theatre and as part of The Excaliber Shakespeare Company Los Angeles Archival Project.