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Star Channing takes on Wilde role at the Gaiety

FORMER First Lady of television, Stockard Channing, will be taking to the Gaiety stage in her next acting role.

The veteran actress, best known for her performance as the First Lady Abbey Bartlet in The West Wing, will be taking on one of the most iconic literary roles as Oscar Wilde's leading lady in The Importance Of Being Earnest.

Channing, who starred alongside Martin Sheen in the award-winning series, will be treading the boards of the Gaiety Theatre this summer when she plays Lady Bracknell in a Rough Magic adaptation of the classic play.

After it was announced that the seasoned performer had joined the cast, Lynne Parker -- Rough Magic artistic director and the visionary behind the play's latest adaptation -- explained how excited cast and crew were to be involved with the "fun" production.

"We are thrilled to welcome Stockard Channing into a classic Rough Magic ensemble, which we know will deliver Wilde's most sublime comedy with characteristic verve. We're going to have a lot of fun."

Since The West Wing ended nearly four years ago, Channing (66) has been keeping busy by starring in a number of Broadway shows, including the award winning Six Degrees Of Separation and Joe Egg.

And she will be bringing her unique experience of both stage and screen for her stint in the capital.

Parker said that it was her experience in the acting arena since she got her first taste of fame playing Rizzo in the iconic musical Grease (1978), that made her the most obvious candidate for the illustrious role.

Rumours began swirling that she would be taking on the role of Lady Bracknell earlier this year, but producers confirmed the arrangement last night.

Theatre goers will be able to see Stockard don her Victorian wardrobe from June 2 to 19 in the Gaiety and with the buzz already surrounding the play, they are being urged to get their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

The Importance Of Being Earnest has already hit various theatres throughout the globe as well as a big screen adaptation in 2002 starring Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, with Dame Judi Dench taking on the role of Bracknell.