Videl’s political drama first opened on Broadway in 1960 and owing to its appeal it has been revived on stage and has a movie adaptation as well. The movie adaptation was made in 1964. The story that was written decades ago comes across as fresh in the stage version where the creative team does full justice to the characters bringing out the political drama in a powerful manner. The stage and the set with posters, the red, white and blue colors along with television monitors that display black and white images aptly capture the atmosphere of election festivities, making the audience feel part of the elections campaign.
The Best Man's story is set in the 1960 times at the fictional National Convention in Philadelphia. It centers on two main characters Secretary William Russell and Senator Joseph Cantwell. Cantwell is portrayed as an unprincipled, canny politician and William Russell as the well-liked humorous liberal candidate. During the party’s nomination for president campaign Cantwell threatens to launch his dirt slinging campaign against the popular William Russell.
The play directed by Michael Wilson reveals the dirty games politicians play and the level they can stoop to. The themes of power and ambition have been handled in a powerful manner in The Best Man. The story traces the ups and downs of politics as Cantwell comes out with a threat to spread a rumor about Russell’s mental health. A ploy he thinks would work to his advantage and help him win the race. Russell is faced with a dilemma. He can either retaliate by doing the same and bring out ugly facts or remain true to his reputation. However, if Russell chooses to remain silent he runs the risk of losing the presidential campaign.
The other main characters that add to the drama are Alice Russell and Mabel. Alice is portrayed as the estranged wife of William Russell. William although shown as a moral politician is not as clean and deeply moral when it comes to women. As the play proceeds, Alice comes to her husband’s help at the time of need and stands by his side during the political campaign. On the other hand is Mabel who is the fiercely loyal wife of the other candidate, Joseph Cantwell. As The Best Man show proceeds it introduces other characters like former President Arthur Hockstader, a man whose endorsement matters in winning the race. Another character is that of Mrs. Sue-Ellen Gamadge, who is another powerful player.
The Best Man features talented artists who are award holders and convincingly portray the complex characters. The talented cast includes two time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones, Tony and Emmy Award winner John Larroquette, Golden Globe Award winner Cybill Shepherd, Emmy Award nominee Kristin Davis, Emmy Award nominee John Stamos, Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays, Obie Award winner Mark Blum and Tony Award winner Elizabeth Ashley. See the accomplished stars on one stage with The Best Man tickets.
The hidden agendas, power struggles, challenges and the conflicting personalities are themes that the audiences can easily relate to. The intriguing drama, star-studded case and interesting storyline promise to make The Best Man a worthwhile experience.