We've certainly been inundated for the past 18 months with political campaign foder. Sadly it almost seems an empty day if we are not bombarded with some scandal, accusation, some grist from the proverbial political mill.
Nor does it go unnoticed by this viewer that this show cleverly didn't run much past election day at the Atlantic Theatre. We've really had enough. But it's never quite enough until Broadway has taken it's shots too. And what a bulls-eye this one turns out to be. Now - this is not the dream cast (Leo DiCapprio and George Clooney) rumored last year to be doing a Broadway-bound version - but it's damn good nonetheless. John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening, Rabbit Hole) takes on the role of Stephen, the young, ambitious, cocky, rising star in the political campaign communications world (of course he's damn sexy doing it too). Chris Noth (Sex and the City, Law and Order) tackles the role of Paul, the elder, more experienced and seasoned campaign advisor.
The dialogue is sharp. Kudos to director, Doug Hughes. The humor, well placed and the acerbic and emotionally charged dialogue well delivered. The plot, twisted and entirely (unfortunately) believable as one would expect. The "gun" in act one gets used as one might expect. No spoilers here.
Possibly the most disappointing aspect of this show is the unfortunate familiarity with the subject matter that the audience brings to its seats. Shock? Not a chance. But I'm virtually positive that is not what the production was shooting for. Cynicism, more likely.
Strangely enough, at the end of the show, the "next generation" gets his first shot in front of the press and cameras (flash-flash-flash). He reads a brief statement then looks up, as if to say "that was the script - now I'm going to tell you what it's really all about". He looks us straight in the eye with that sincere, "we're going to change the world" face and tells the press (that's us) that the "people" is what the campaign is all about - it's the reason the candidate is running and that he will lead us into a new era. The audience applauded exuberantly. Hmmm... Fade to black.