Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Best Man

Quite possibly the most star-studded success story ever to grace the Broadway stage.  Gore Vidal's The Best Man has been resurrected once again in an election year where it seems that, as the play testifies to, nothing seems to change.  And what a cast!  The budget for this show must be astronomical - and in this case - worth every penny and more in ticket prices!  Broadway, with more than its fair share of star-vehicle disappointments to grace the stage these past few years - That Championship Season and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown come to mind - this show, a history lesson unto itself, allows each star to shine individually and collectively ignite the political bonfire known as politics.  

The outstanding cast - James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen, Eric McCormack, Kerry Butler, Jefferson Mays, Michael McKean, and Angela Lansbury - are firing on all cylinders to make one magical evening in the theatre.  Mr. Jones and Ms. Lansbury bring gravitas to the subject matter.  Mr. Larroquette and Ms. Bergen bring intelligence, wit, and incredible presence to the characters.  Mr. McCormack brings youth and a very believable do-anything, say-anythig attitude.  Ms. Butler, Mr. Mays, and Mr. McKean being high quality character acting back into fashion.  All combined, they electrify the evening culminating in a riveting climax.

The entire theatre is decked out in convention regalia from orchestra to the rear mezzanine.  A box seat is taken over by a Walter Cronkite-like news broadcaster who periodically covers the goings-on in classic old-fashioned style which is also broadcast onto period black and white television sets though out the theatre.  Rotating sets (whose design and form may have been borrowed from Chinglish) are outstanding - kudos to Derek McLane.  Director, Michael Wilson, keeps the action crisp and the momentum always edging forward.

All around a not-to-be-missed evening in the theatre with a once-in-a-lifetime assembled cast entertaining you from the first minute to the very last.  Like any devoted conventioneer - you'll be on your feet, cheering in the aisles for this revival.