An Ideal Husband at Majestic

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A politician faces extreme scrutiny in the face of a past misdeed being brought back into his life by a scorned enemy.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was the basis of yet another news story about yet another corrupt official being brought down this year. This time around, it’s the set up for a play that feels very familiar despite its century-old origins.

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde is set to hit the Majestic stage on Sept. 29 and will run for two weekends, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and afternoon performances at 2:30 p.m.

It tells the story of Sir Robert Chiltern (Chad Howard), the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs in the United Kingdom, who is hosting a party with his steadfast wife, Lady Chiltern (Andrea Hackett). The party is crashed by Mrs. Cheveley (Jocelyn Adams Eisenlohr), who confronts Sir Chiltern with a damning note from his past. Cheveley demands that he support one of her fraudulent schemes or she’ll release the note and ruin his life. 

Through Wilde’s witty and poetic dialogue, the fantastic sets and costumes that seem to be pulled right out of the Aesthetic Movement that birthed Oscar Wilde himself, and the electric acting of its leads, this genre-bending drama-comedy-romance pulls you in.

Director Bernadette Bascom has only been a part of the Majestic community for a little over two years, and this show marks her Majestic directing debut. Throughout this show’s production process, Bascom has been amazed by the work ethic of her fellow volunteers.

“The best part of community theatre is that the people who help—seamstresses, the people who help pass out posters, those painting or making props—they don’t realize the skills they have,” gushed Bascom. “But [when] we come together, we all learn what we’re good at and we all step up and bring it to the show. Six people put together every one of the women’s costumes…from scratch. I’m so thankful to the actors and crew and everyone who brings this show to life.”

Actor Chad Howard echoed Bascom’s sentiments, downplaying his presence as the “lead actor,” showcasing his fellow actors instead.

“I still maintain that of the ‘leads’, mine is probably the smallest,” explained the humble Howard. “Rory as Goring is on stage almost the entire show, Jocelyn as Cheveley and Andrea as Lady Chiltern have just huge monologues they have to get through. I have the easy job. I’m in awe of their talent.”

An Ideal Husband opens the Majestic season this weekend and runs through Oct. 7. Tickets will run you $16 for adults and $14 for students and seniors. There will be a $10 opening night special for all who attend.

By Nathan Hermanson