Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, (4/01/2012 - 9/09/2012)

First Preview: Mar 06, 2012
Opening Date: Apr 01, 2012
Closing Date: Sep 09, 2012
Total Previews: 31
Total Performances: 185

Category: Play, Revival, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, INFINITY Stages, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Barbara Manocherian/Michael Palitz, Ken Mahoney/The Broadway Consortium, Kathleen K. Johnson, Andy Sandberg, Fifty Church Street Productions, Larry Hirschhorn/Bennu Productions, Patty Baker, Paul Boskind and Martian Entertainment, Wendy Federman, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Cricket Hooper Jiranek, Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley, Carl Moellenberg, Harold Thau and Will Trice; Associate Producer: Stephanie Rosenberg

Written by Gore Vidal; Original Music by John Gromada

Directed by Michael Wilson; Assistant Director: David Alpert

Scenic Design by Derek McLane; Costume Design by Ann Roth; Lighting Design by Kenneth Posner; Sound Design by John Gromada; Projection Design by Peter Nigrini; Hair Design by Josh Marquette; Make-Up Design by Angelina Avallone; Associate Scenic Design: Aimee B. Dombo; Associate Costume Design: Matthew Pachtman; Associate Lighting Design: John Viesta; Associate Sound Design: Alex Neumann; Associate Projection Design: C. Andrew Bauer; Assistant Scenic Design: Erica Hemminger; Assistant Projection Design: Dan Scully

General Manager: Richards / Climan, Inc.; Company Manager: Brig Berney

Technical Supervisor: Hudson Theatrical Productions; Production Stage Manager: Matthew Farrell; Stage Manager: Kenneth J. McGee

Dialect Coach: Kate Wilson; Press Representative: Jeffrey Richards Associates, Irene Gandy and Alana Karpoff; Advertising: Serino Coyne; Website Design and Online Marketing Strategy: Situation Interactive; Interactive Marketing: Broadway's Best Shows, Christopher Pineda and Andy Drachenberg; Casting: Telsey + Company; Photographer: Joan Marcus

Opening Night Cast

Candice BergenAlice Russell
wife of William Russell
(Mar 06, 2012 - Jul 08, 2012)
Kerry ButlerMabel Cantwell
wife of Joseph Cantwell
(Mar 06, 2012 - Jul 08, 2012)
James Earl JonesFormer President Arthur "Artie" Hockstader
Angela LansburyMrs. Sue-Ellen Gamadge
Chairman of the Women's Division
(Mar 06, 2012 - Jul 22, 2012)
John LarroquetteSecretary William Russell
Eric McCormackSenator Joseph Cantwell
(Mar 06, 2012 - Jul 08, 2012)
Michael McKeanDick Jensen
William Russell's campaign manager
(Mar 06, 2012 - May 21, 2012)
Curtis BillingsBellboy
Ensemble
Corey BrillDon Blades
Joseph Cantwell's campaign manager
Tony CarlinFrank Pearson
a reporter from the New York Daily Mirror
Security
Ensemble
Donna HanoverMrs. Cantwell
mother of Joseph Cantwell
Barbara Brinkley
a reporter from United Press International
Sherman HowardJohn Malcolm
the News commentator
Olja HrusticEnsemble
Bill KuxDr. Artinian
a psychiatrist
Ensemble
James LecesneMitch Graham
a reporter from the Washington Post
Ensemble
Dakin MatthewsSenator Clyde Carlin
Jefferson MaysSheldon Marcus
Angelica PageCatherine
a campaign aide
Fred ParkerHowie Annenberg
a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer
Ensemble
Amy TribbeyCleaning Woman
Ensemble

Understudies: Curtis Billings (Frank Pearson, Howie Annenberg, Mitch Graham, Security), Tony Carlin (News Commentator, Senator Joseph Cantwell), Donna Hanover (Alice Russell, Mrs. Sue-Ellen Gamadge), Sherman Howard (Dick Jensen, Secretary William Russell), Olja Hrustic (Assistant to Barbara Brinkley, Cleaning Woman), Bill Kux (Bell Person, Bellboy, Cameraperson, Campaign Worker, Photographer, Senator Clyde Carlin), James Lecesne (Additional Hotel Staff, Dick Jensen, Dr. Artinian, Reporter, Sheldon Marcus), Dakin Matthews (Ex-President Arthur Hockstader), Angelica Page (Alice Russell, Mabel Cantwell), Fred Parker (Don Blades, News Commentator) and Amy Tribbey (Additional Hotel Staff, Barbara Brinkley, Catherine, Mabel Cantwell, Mrs. Cantwell, Reporter)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2012 Best Revival of a Play [nominee] 

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, INFINITY Stages, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Barbara Manocherian/Michael Palitz, Kathleen K. Johnson, Andy Sandberg, Ken Mahoney/The Broadway Consortium, Fifty Church Street Productions, Larry Hirschhorn/Bennu Productions, Patty Baker, Paul Boskind and Martian Entertainment, Wendy Federman, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Cricket Hooper Jiranek, Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley, Carl Moellenberg, Harold Thau and Will Trice

 2012 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play [nominee] 

James Earl Jones

Drama Desk Award

 2012 Outstanding Revival of a Play [nominee] 

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, INFINITY Stages, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Barbara Manocherian/Michael Palitz, Ken Mahoney/The Broadway Consortium, Kathleen K. Johnson, Andy Sandberg, Fifty Church Street Productions, Larry Hirschhorn/Bennu Productions, Patty Baker, Paul Boskind and Martian Entertainment, Wendy Federman, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Cricket Hooper Jiranek, Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley, Carl Moellenberg, Harold Thau and Will Trice

 2012 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Angela Lansbury

winner 2012 Outstanding Sound Design in a Play [winner] 

Sound Design by John Gromada

Reviews


AP: "Gore Vidal once again proves a prophet"

Politics, the writer Gore Vidal once reminded us, is made up of two words: "`Poli,' which is Greek for `many,' and `tics,' which are bloodsucking insects." What was implied was also true — that those same darn pests turn up year after year.

Now that the weather is warming up and this current election cycle is heating up, one of Vidal's timeless pieces of writing is buzzing once again. His 1960 play about rival presidential candidates, "The Best Man," opened Sunday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, sadly proving the writer astonishingly prescient.

Set in Philadelphia during a fictional 1960 national convention, "Gore Vidal's The Best Man" pits two candidates vying for their unnamed party's presidential nomination — the East Coast intellectual Bill Russell, a former U.S. secretary of state, and the venal Tennessee Sen. Joe Cantwell.

The hard-nosed Cantwell, for whom the end always justifies the means, tries to force Russell out of the race by threatening to release embarrassing medical records. The morally fastidious Russell has to decide whether to retaliate with even more shocking evidence on his rival.

"One by one, these compromises, these small corruptions destroy character," Russell says. "Once this sort of thing starts, there is no end to it, which is why it should never begin."

You'll be clapping a lot during the 2 1/2-hour show — mainly just to welcome an embarrassment of riches on stage: James Earl Jones. Angela Lansbury. John Larroquette. Candice Bergen. Eric McCormack. Michael McKean and Kerry Butler. It's like a greatest hits album on stage. Director Michael Wilson gives each a moment to shine and excitingly paces the play like a thriller.

Vidal's words may be more than 50 years old, but there are virtually no anachronistic bits. He predicted a political fight over the disclosure of medical records, negative campaigning, randy politicians, strained political marriages, first lady activism, arguments over mental fitness for office, elitism versus populism, the role of the Roman Catholic Church, poll-driven pols, pandering through religion and tax cuts, and even a political scuffle over birth control.

The quips flow freely and, with this cast, the satire is made archly delicious. "The terrible thing about running for President is you become a compulsive talker, forever answering questions no one has asked you," says Larroquette's Russell.

Larroquette is perfectly cast as a goodhearted Hamlet, who unfortunately for him, quotes Hamlet. "Don't try to be smart-alecky and talk over their heads," warns the powerful committee woman, played with doddering upper-crust charm by Lansbury.

In this thoughtful, still-idealistic man's corner is his estranged wife, who is played with a weariness by Bergen, and McKean as his campaign manager who is often exasperated by his boss' refusal to get down into the political mud.

McCormack plays Cantwell with the slickness and petulance of a man with unquenchable ambition, always ready for the next chess move even if no one else is playing. His wife, played with obvious delight by Butler, is bubbly but dangerously so — underestimate her and you won't notice the knife sticking out of your back.

The biggest cheers are reserved for Jones, who plays an ailing, plainspoken former president whose endorsement both sides need desperately. He loves a good whiskey, recalls a political past when "you had to pour God over everything like ketchup," and especially comes to life when there's a knockdown battle on his hands.

"I tell you there is nothin' like a dirty-low-down political fight to put the roses in your cheeks," he says, and Jones seems to drop two decades as he says it.

This play was last on Broadway during the campaign between George W. Bush and Al Gore and the subsequent legal battle in the fall of 2000. This edition — unnecessarily re-titled with the author's name, perhaps to distinguish it from a play about a wedding — will likely get a boost if the Republicans continue their long painful slog toward picking a presidential nominee.

All the action takes place over several days in a hotel and Derek McLane's revolving rooms are artfully and richly decorated with tasteful cream-colored furniture and plenty of oil paintings of Founding Fathers. A few nice touches transform theatergoers into convention participants, with ushers wearing red-white-and-blue hats, political signs sprinkled about and one of the theater's boxes converted into a broadcasting booth for an actor playing a newscaster to frame the scenes.

While Vidal clearly has sympathy for Russell, he betrays not a little admiration for Cantwell, too, making the play richer and fairer. In the end, Russell finds a creative solution to stop Cantwell from being nominated, but Vidal seems to be saying that it ultimately doesn't really matter who wins: Our public politicians all seem bland and selfless, very different from the spiky, power-mad private ones. Or, as Russell's wife's says, "We are all interchangeably inoffensive."


AP
04/01/2012

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

(4/1/2012 - 9/9/2012)
Stage Manager: Jason Brouillard(Jul 10, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012).

Cast

Elizabeth Ashley
Mrs. Sue-Ellen Gamadge
Chairman of the Women's Division
(Jul 24, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012)
Mark Blum
Dick Jensen
William Russell's campaign manager
(Jun 5, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012)
Kristin Davis
Mabel Cantwell
wife of Joseph Cantwell
(Jul 10, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012)
James Lecesne
Dick Jensen
William Russell's campaign manager
(May 23, 2012 - Jun 3, 2012)
Sean Lyons
Delegate (Aug 7, 2012 - Aug 19, 2012)
Howie Annenberg
a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer
(Aug 7, 2012 - Aug 12, 2012)
Frank Pearson
a reporter from the New York Daily Mirror
(Aug 14, 2012 - Aug 19, 2012)
Security (Aug 14, 2012 - Aug 19, 2012)
Angelica Page
Alice Russell
wife of William Russell
(Sep 4, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012)
Fred Parker
Ensemble (May 23, 2012 - ?)
Mitch Graham
a reporter from the Washington Post
(May 23, 2012 - ?)
Cybill Shepherd
Alice Russell
wife of William Russell
(Jul 10, 2012 - Sep 2, 2012)
John Stamos
Senator Joseph Cantwell (Jul 10, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012)


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