Gore Vidal’s The Best Man is the chestnut about the power machinations of various presidential candidates, some of whom are willing to go further than others when it comes to negative campaigning.
(Sound familiar, news followers?)
Well, the imminent Broadway revival is campaigning to sell tickets — starting with a promo event yesterday where the big-name-filled cast spoke to us as if at a White House press conference.
Playing the departing president, James Earl Jones said he likes being the elder in the cast, to which Angela Lansbury cutely chimed in, “You’re not the elder!”
Lansbury said she’s played other parts involving political conventions (like in The Manchurian Candidate), but this character isn’t vicious. She’s playing a role the Times called “a Washington grand dame and political busybody,” and Lansbury said she’s channeling “the hostess with the mostest,” Perle Mesta, in her performance.
Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) plays the presidential aspirant with a possible gay secret. He said he accepted the role when “my manager started listing all the cast. I said, ‘Stop! You had me at Earl.'”
John Larroquette (who plays the protagonist) admitted, “I’m not an actor by trade, I’m a TV star!”
(But Candice Bergen, who plays his wife and who married him on Boston Legal, reminded everyone, “He won a Tony!”)
And James Earl Jones was asked about playing an African-American president in a play set in 1960.
He said he wasn’t sure how to answer that quite yet, but feels this will “tell the audience to use their imaginations and wonder, ‘How did this happen?'”
Just like with Obama, he added.