In the matter of the revival of Gore Vidal's astonishingly prescient play, "The Best Man," I was unable to go to it until recently and what got to me after the fact, was that I had been totally taken in by some of the tepid reviews. Boy! Was I wrong and were these critics wrong, in my humble opinion.
First I was dreading sitting through the play and two intermissions. That seemed so old-fashioned. Most offerings nowadays, there is only one intermission, or none at all. But the night I went, the audience was SRO and the time simply flew by.
Gore's play about a liberal and a conservative vying in Philadelphia for their party's nomination for President is as fresh as a daisy, even though it harks back to the days of black and white TV when things were much simpler than now. And it's a cautionary tale about being unprincipled and unethical and making sacrifices and killing off your enemies with rumor and scandal. Sound familiar? It is. If you have been fascinated and dismayed by the current political carryings-on, you will be enthralled at this backward look at how it began. (Vidal's play, which debuted on Broadway in 1960. In 1964 it was made into a movie starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson.)
I was unhappy when I read one critic who said that my pal Candice Bergen as the unhappy wife of the liberal aspirant was "miscast." (I suppose this is a critic who won't allow Ms. Bergen to act her age and is still insisting that she flaunt her considerable good looks and feisty manner as "Murphy Brown," instead of letting her exercise the right to be another type of character.) I thought she was absolutely perfect as "the wife" and I call THAT simply "good acting."
Every single cast member in this play is great and doing their damndest with Gore's writing brilliance and his perspicacity SP? as a political seer. It is especially thrilling to see the great, great James Earl Jones as a cynical heartfelt pragmatist of a president about to leave office.
The protagonists John Larroquette and Eric McCormack reflect onstage most of the demeanor and calculation that is going on now as we struggle through an election year. They are both perfect! Believe me, you will LOVE "The Best Man." Buy your ticket and cast your vote!