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Playhouse Merced opts for Being Earnest
Earnest 1
Playhouse Merced is opening The Importance of Being Earnest on Oct. 2. The show stars Stephen Mouillesseaux as Algernon, Meganne Kocher as Cecily, Connie Stetson as Lady Bracknell, Katie Brokaw as Gwendolyn, and Colton Dennis as John. - photo by Photo Contributed

Playhouse Merced is premiering their production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” with real life newlyweds Colton Dennis and Katie Brokaw as the play’s romantic leads.

The play opens Oct. 2 for a two week run, ending Oct. 11.

John Worthing (Dennis), a carefree young gentleman, is the inventor of a fictitious brother, “Ernest,” whose wicked ways afford John an excuse to leave his country home from time to time and journey to London, where he stays with his close friend and confidant, Algernon Moncrieff (Stephen Mouillesseaux). Algernon has a cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax (Brokaw), with whom John is deeply in love. During his London sojourns, John, under the name Ernest, has won Gwendolen’s love, for she strongly desires to marry someone with the confidence-inspiring name of Ernest. But when he asks for Gwendolen’s hand from the formidable Lady Bracknell (Connie Stetson), John finds he must reveal he is a foundling who was left in a handbag at Victoria Station. This is very disturbing to Lady Bracknell, who insists that he produce at least one parent before she consents to the marriage. Returning to the country home where he lives with his ward Cecily Cardew (Meganne Kocher) and her governess Miss Prism (Karen Damme), John finds that Algernon has also arrived under the identity of the nonexistent brother Ernest. Algernon falls madly in love with the beautiful Cecily, who has long been enamored of John’s fascinating, if fictitious, brother Ernest. With the arrival of Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen, chaos erupts. What happens next when they all end up in the country together and their deceptions are discovered is what critics have described as masterful comedy.   Rounding out the cast are Bryan Hurd as the repressed parson Dr. Chasuble, and Chelsea King as Lane and Chris Ingle as Merriman. The show is directed by Chris Battisti.   Show times are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. 

Tickets can be purchased by going online to, by calling 725-8587, or visiting the box office at 452 West Main Street in downtown Merced, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.