Alumni guest artists take a walk on the Wilde side

From left to right: Drew Callahan plays John Worthing, Alicia Sable is Gwendolen Bracknell, attending them is Daniel McNulty as the butler, Christopher Phillips plays Algernon Moncrieff, and Kathleen Harshberger portrays Lady Bracknell.

Radford University Department of Theatre and Cinema rounds out its Pridemore Series with a smash…a smashing production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” that is. Oscar Wilde’s theatrical masterpiece of wit and frivolity lands on the Hayes Stage April 11 and plays through April 16.

With gorgeous period costumes and lavish, Aesthetic Movement-inspired scenery, this production features not one, but two guest artists, both alumnae of Radford University. Kathleen Harshberger ‘80 portrays the overbearing society maven Lady Bracknell and her daughter, Gwendolen is being played by Alicia Sable ‘01. Well known to Radford University Theatre audiences, Harshberger has played several roles during and since her time as a student including a comic turn in last season’s “Anything Goes.”

Sable returns to the Pridemore Playhouse where she last appeared in “The Boyfriend” her senior year. A native of Giles County, Alicia took off for New York after graduation where she sang and danced on Broadway. She also played a major role in Amazon Prime’s “Alpha House” alongside John Goodman.

The director of the production is professor of Theatre Wesley Young.

“Like so many people, I love this play,” he said. “Monica Weinzapfel, our resident costume designer, and I have long dreamed of working on this play together.”

“The students are enormously excited about all aspects of this production. I am continually amazed by the timeless appeal of Wilde to generation after generation. Then to have Kathleen and Alicia on board is glittering icing on an already pretty cake.”

The play first premiered in 1895 and remains one of the most-produced plays in the English-speaking theatre. The author relentlessly lampooned the English upper crust in this story of women who can only love a man of a certain name and their suitors who both lead double lives. Wilde himself described the philosophy of the play as one that treats “the trivial things of life seriously, and the serious things with sincere and studied triviality.”

Radford University Theatre students make up the rest of the cast. Drew Callahan, of Virginia Beach, plays John Worthing; Christopher Phillips, of Pulaski, is Algernon Moncrieff. Megan Ward, of Rocky Mount, plays Cecily Cardew and Adiya Koram, of Alexandria, is her governess Miss Prism. Others include Jordan Wommack, Virginia Beach, Matthew Cibak, from Reston, Daniel McNulty, of Williamsburg and Marco Lotz, Woodbridge.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” opens Tuesday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. The play performs again Thursday, April 13-Saturday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. each evening and Sunday, April 16, at 2 p.m. The Sunday matinee includes sign language interpretation.

Tickets are $10 for general admission; $6 for Radford University Faculty/Staff, as well as for seniors and groups (10+). Radford University students free with student ID. Tickets are available online at or by visit the Porterfield Box Office. You may visit the box office in person from noon to 6 p.m. beginning the week before opening, or one hour before start of each performance.

 Join us at 5:30 p.m. April 14 for Curtain Up! “The Importance of Being Earnest” style! The Department of Theatre and Cinema and the Radford University Foundation cordially invite you to enjoy a delicious three-course dinner in the atrium of the Covington Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. The dinner hour features an interview with guest artists, Radford University Alumnae Kathleen Harshberger and Alicia Sable. Your admission to the performance is also included in the Curtain Up! package. A portion of the proceeds from your ticket goes to the Visiting Artist Fund. So, join us for a dinner social and a show and help grow the fund that brings visiting artists back to the stage at RU.  Tickets are $65 per person (includes cocktails, dinner and ticket to production). RSVP online at by Friday, April 7. If you have any questions, please call 540-831-5407 or email

Mar 30, 2017
Wesley Young