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April 1, 2012


The No. 1 Reason To See: The Best Man

by Jesse North

best man broadway revival posterThe year might be 1960, but not much has changed in the arena of dirty politickin’ in this revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. Eric McCormack and John Larroquette face off as two party candidates vying for the presidential primary nomination. Each has a handful of dirt to throw and heavyweights like James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, Michael McKean, and Kerry Butler have gathered to watch.

The No. 1 Reason To See The Best Man: John Larroquette’s struggle with the dark side of politics
McCormack plays Joseph Cantwell, who has no reservations about using personal business as a weapon against his opponent. Larroquette as William Russell is the opposite, determined to keep the battle within the ring of diplomatic policy. Cantwell’s campaign quickly becomes what Larroquette was trying to avoid—a smear job. However, when information on Cantwell is fortuitously delivered to Russell, he has the opportunity to strike back against his competitor, using it as leverage to save his career. However, the decision would compromise his principles, turning him into the kind of politician he despises. While Russell’s advisers urge him to retaliate against Cantwell, Larroquette delivers a staggeringly heartfelt speech about the right and wrong of politics and what makes a noble leader. Larroquette, while not an actor who conveys melodramatic emotion, displays a storm of internal struggle through his stoic face. The inner conflict is palpable and what the audience is watching is a man who is at the tipping point of either becoming a leader he respects or one that he loathes. It’s that moment in everyone’s life where words take a backseat to actions, and Larroquette creates that personal choice on stage with painful suspense.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Apr 2 2012

    You know there was no way I would miss Angela Lansbury on the Broadway stage, but I have to agree with you here: John Laroquette’s performance is what made me want to see it a second time (and probably again as well). It’s never clear what political party the two candidates and former President are a member of, but if this were a real life scenario, I’d have to throw my vote to Laroquette’s character. He’s fantastic and Laroquette just endorses it with a fabulous performance! I did happen to enjoy the entire cast anyway, which is nothing short of a bonus.


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