Skylight Music Theatre Announces Special Events to Launch Virtual Musical Being Earnest

Skylight Music Theatre | October 7, 2020

Milwaukee — Skylight Music Theatre today announced two special events to launch Skylight’s first online/virtual, full-length musical, Being Earnest by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska, which will be available for streaming Oct. 16 — Nov. 12, 2020.

Being Earnest, based on Oscar Wilde’s satirical comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, is Skylight’s first virtual musical. It was rehearsed, performed, and recorded in the seven performers’ separate homes to allow for social distancing, and footage was then edited together like a film.

Premiere Screening & Talkback in Socially Distanced Cabot Theatre

Being Earnest will be screened in a live premiere in the Cabot Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a talkback on stage with Skylight Artistic Director and Being Earnest director Michael Unger and members of the cast. The live event is limited to 50 people with distanced seating and safety protocols. The Cabot Theatre is located in the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. The talkback will be live-streamed, recorded and available online after the event.

“Oscar Wilde meets Austin Powers in this completely groovy musical sure to charm and delight Skylight audiences as well as online viewers everywhere. It is the perfect way to show off Milwaukee’s talent pool in one of the world’s most popular titles,” said Unger. “Seeing this musical on the big screen in the spacious Cabot Theatre is a special, one-time-only event. After the screening, the talkback will be a wonderful chance to see the performers in person, and hear their perspectives about putting together a full-length musical during these challenging times.”

Skylight Social Online Video Chat with Creative Team

Behind-the-scenes insights into how Being Earnest was created virtually will be the focus of a free Skylight Social live video chat on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

“Actors, musicians and creative teams were never in the same room, using Zoom and multiple playback and recording devices,” said Unger. “During the Skylight Social we will show never-before-seen footage of the creative ways each actor set up camera shots, dealt with props and costumes, interacted with their scene partners and learned group choreography.”

The Skylight Social will be streamed live on Skylight’s YouTube and Facebook channels, with opportunities to ask questions of the participants. Skylight Socials are recorded and available for viewing on Skylight’s social media platforms.

Unger will host the Skylight Social and be joined by Being Earnest creators Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska and members of the cast. Gordon, who wrote Being Earnest, also wrote the musical Daddy Long Legs, which premiered at Skylight in 2012 and went on to national acclaim. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Jane Eyre on Broadway. Gruska is a three-time Emmy-nominated film and TV composer who has scored shows such as Lois & Clark and Charmed, and written songs for Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Amy Grant, Chicago, Dusty Springfield, and others.

A Groovy 1960s Musical Take on Wilde’s Most Popular Play

Being Earnest takes place in a mod, 1960’s, Austin Powers-era setting. All of the brilliant wit in Wilde’s most popular play remains intact in this effervescent musical about two young couples and the societal conventions, over-bearing mothers, and misplaced handbags in railway stations that they must overcome in the course of finding true love. The score is a sparkling homage to 1960’s rock groups such as Herman’s Hermits, The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Seekers, The Hollies, The Lovin’ Spoonful and more.

Skylight’s first online musical features a cast of seven Milwaukee-area performers. In order of appearance: Algernon (Max Pink), Lane/Chasuble/Merriman (Tim Rebers), Jack (Joey Chelius), Lady Bracknell (Nathan Marinan), Gwendolyn (Stephanie Staszak), Miss Prism (Karen Estrada), and Cecily (Ashley Oveido).

Being Earnest is streaming online beginning Friday, Oct. 16 through Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Patrons purchase a ticket for a specific date, and have 48 hours from their selected date to view the show online.