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Half In Earnest

Piano Selections - Cover

Music, Lyrics and Adaptation by Vivian Ellis in 3 acts: Based on The Importance of Being Earnest and other works of Oscar Wilde

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry 27 March, 1958 (season)
Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, Pennsylvania - 17 June, 1957 (season)
Welsh Theatre Company, Wrexham - 28 September, 1964 (tour)

The Story

(Late Victorian England)

John Worthing, who calls himself Jack in the country but Earnest in town, wants to marry Gwendolen Fairfax, daughter of the formidable Lady Bracknell. Worthing's background is so obscure - as a baby he was found in a handbag at London's Victoria Station - that Lady Bracknell strongly objects to the marriage.

His friend in London, Algernon Moncrieff, discovers the whereabouts of the Worthin's country estate on which lives his pretty young ward, Cecily Cardew. She is under the tutelage of the governess, Miss Prism. The important question is whether Worthing is, or is not, called Earnest, because Gwendolen would never marry anyone whose name was not Earnest. Eventually comes the revelation that Worthing is actually the son of Lady Bracknell's sister.

He was left in the handbag through the absentmindedness of the governess. His name is Ernest John Moncrieff and he is therefore the brother of his friend Algernon. Marriages are planned between Cecily and Algernon and Miss Prism and Dr Chasuable. Gwendolen feels able to marry Worthing because his name really is Earnest and he knows for the first time is his life the vital importance of being Earnest.

In addition to the familiar characters of the well-known comedy, a small chorus is required to augment the singing, occupying what appears to the audience as two theatre boxes on each side of the stage.

Principal Characters (plus Chorus)

Principal Musical Numbers

  1. Don't Touch the Cucumber Sandwiches (Algernon)
  2. A Bunburying I Must Go (Algernon)
  3. How Do You Propose To Propose? (Jack, Gwendolen)
  4. Foolish Love (Cecily)
  5. There's No Friend Like A New Friend (Cecily, Algernon)
  6. Christening Quartette (Algernon, Jack, Cecily, Gwendolen)
  7. The Social Scale (Lady Bracknell)


(Total number of books = 2)