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The Best Man


operalover21
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So I was dragged along to a preview and it was as bad as I was expecting. The play really is badly dated and it's hard not to see the actors from the very fine movie in the parts. That being said, the primary problem with this revival is some really bad miscasting starting with the truly awful Eric McCormack. I can't recall the last time I saw a performance this bad on Broadway. The "Southern" accent is all over the play and is he's terribly exaggerated all the time. Not far behind is John Larroquette. He's supposed to be playing a rather pie-in-the-sky intellectual who is too serious for his own good but there is always that smirk underlying everything and undermining his performance. Lovely Candice Bergen just makes no impact (the effects of her stroke?) in a role that was deliciously played on screen by Margaret Leighton.

 

The only two reasons to see it are two small, supporting roles by two legends: James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury (now needing a cane to get around onstage) who stride upon the stage like the two giants that they both are. But, in the end, it's not worth the price of admission just to see those two although, I'll admit, I was very happy to do so. Afterall, you never know when it will be the last time to see those cherished performers on the stage.

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I think you're being a bit too harsh. True, it's a period piece. True, nobody here is of the stature of Henry Fonda, who starred in the movie. But I found it reasonably entertaining. Maybe I'm just a political junkie.

 

I'm a complete political junkie. I'm not sure I'd call it a "period piece" as many period pieces are perfectly in tune because of their timeliness. I just think this play creaks. I do think the movie is nearly perfect with every single role perfectly cast.

 

As I said, my problem with the revival is how the two lead roles are not only badly miscast but then the chosen actors give bad performances on top of that.

 

If this were O'Neill and not the mediocre Gore Vidal it would have been ruined by some of the performances in this play. It would only have been entertaining if the actors had been high. Or I had been.

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Mediocre Vidal

 

I just think this play creaks. I do think the movie is nearly perfect with every single role perfectly cast.

 

If this were O'Neill and not the mediocre Gore Vidal it would have been ruined by some of the performances in this play. It would only have been entertaining if the actors had been high. Or I had been.

 

Just my opinion, but I was never a fan of the film despite the cast. And I am a political fan as well. I remember watching the party conventions in 1952 on TV, when I was 9 years old. "The Best Man" is pretty boring compared to the real thing.

 

To be fair, I should say I have not seen this revival.

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The audience at the show I attended seemed to love the show. They loved Angela Lansbury. So, if the show is marketable, why not bring it back, even if dated?

I did wonder how much the audience was reacting to the stars in the show versus the show itself, and that would open a different can of worms.

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The audience at the show I attended seemed to love the show. They loved Angela Lansbury. So, if the show is marketable, why not bring it back, even if dated?

I did wonder how much the audience was reacting to the stars in the show versus the show itself, and that would open a different can of worms.

 

You actually wondered about that? Really? Do you think this show would ever have been done without the star names? Not in a million years. I'm glad people are enjoying the show and the stars. To me it was like going to the dentist. And I love Jones and Lansbury. The rest of it was painful.

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Remember folks it's called Show BUSINESS. Theater may be an art but it still takes $$$ to make it run. I've often gone to see shows just because of the "stars" that are on stage. Obviously we would all want to see a brilliant performer giving an amazing performance in a great play all the time but the reality is that only happens in rare moments. If there were only perfect shows on Broadway there would be a lot of dark theaters. Just go to be entertained and if it gets to a higher artistic level so much the better.

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I saw this production a few weeks ago. I thought it was very enjoyable. The audience liked it very much. Yes, a "who's who" of TV sitcom stars, but I did not find it dated at all. I thought in the midst of the republican nominee race the show takes on a certain level of revelance and I am sure the underhanded black mailing and back stabbing still goes on in political parties today. Anyway, with this cast and the every arriving hordes of spring tourists to the city, the show is in for a run. It was an enjoyable and entertaining production.

ED

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Last week, which was spring break, The Best Man sold 81.1% of its tickets, down 9.9% from the previous week.

In comparison, End of the Rainbow sold 59.2%, which represented a decline of 15.1% from the previous week.

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Last week, which was spring break, The Best Man sold 81.1% of its tickets, down 9.9% from the previous week.

In comparison, End of the Rainbow sold 59.2%, which represented a decline of 15.1% from the previous week.

 

The Best Man has a more marketable cast while End of The Rainbow has a virtual unknown, to broadway audiences, in the lead. End of the Rainbow is one of thoses productions who, given the producers blessings, will have to find its own audience through word of mouth and perhaps some savy marketing and advertising. Neither of these two shows are marketable to a younger audience, hence the old fogies in the audience, like me. As you yourself said, you had little knowledge of Judy's life when you went to see the show. I can assure you that anyone under the age of 25 will remember her only as that "girl from the movie about Oz". Even young gay men, and women, have very little connection to Judy. Alas, gay icons and idols grow old, die and are forgotten only by the very few who continue to worship them. Shame.

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To See, or Not to See, End of the Rainbow

 

Alas' date=' gay icons and idols grow old, die and are forgotten only by the very few who continue to worship them. Shame.[/quote']

 

I was living overseas for a year, and returned to San Francisco on June 22, 1969, the day Judy Garland died. Foreign newspapers extensively covered Judy Garland's strange behavior at the London nightclub and her marriage to Mickey Deans.

 

To some extend, I feel like I already know this story from reading newspapers and magazines from that period. I have not decided yet whether to see End of the Rainbow, but even those very aware of who Garland was may take a pass because her career and life had been so erratic for a very long time, just worse near the end.

.

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The Best Man has a more marketable cast while End of The Rainbow has a virtual unknown, to broadway audiences, in the lead. End of the Rainbow is one of thoses productions who, given the producers blessings, will have to find its own audience through word of mouth and perhaps some savy marketing and advertising. Neither of these two shows are marketable to a younger audience, hence the old fogies in the audience, like me. As you yourself said, you had little knowledge of Judy's life when you went to see the show. I can assure you that anyone under the age of 25 will remember her only as that "girl from the movie about Oz". Even young gay men, and women, have very little connection to Judy. Alas, gay icons and idols grow old, die and are forgotten only by the very few who continue to worship them. Shame.

 

And there's an excellent article from Terry Teachout (yes, that one) that is spot on about how difficult it is to produce a straight play on Broadway these days without "star" names. It's in the WSJ and I highly recommend it. It's kinda sad because I'd rather see a play than a musical anytime.

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I also prefer plays because they engage my mind much more than a musical does. I love good acting, so seeing someone take a character and become him, then perform brilliantly on stage, well, it's hard to beat that.

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I also prefer plays because they engage my mind much more than a musical does. I love good acting, so seeing someone take a character and become him, then perform brilliantly on stage, well, it's hard to beat that.

 

See, Lucky, the moon and stars have aligned and we finally agree on something. LOL.

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WilliamM, if you love theater, and you love good theater, then I suggest you would be doing yourself a disservice by not seeing Tracie Bennet's performance.

Can you separate your knowledge of Judy Garland from a performance drawn upon her life? As I mentioned, I did not need to do that, and I saw a great show

by a great performer. If you can settle in your mind that you are going to see Tracie Bennet perform, then you might be in for a good time.

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End of the Rainbow

 

.

Can you separate your knowledge of Judy Garland from a performance drawn upon her life? As I mentioned, I did not need to do that, and I saw a great show

by a great performer. If you can settle in your mind that you are going to see Tracie Bennet perform, then you might be in for a good time.

 

I shall be in NYC the first two weekends in May, and will try very hard to see End of the Rainbow. The first weekend may be difficult because I am attending an afternoon service at the Church of St. John the Divine. I am unsure what, if anything, is planned afterwards. But the second weekend seems good.

 

In looking aroung other message boards, I seem to be the only person who saw Garland perform at the very height of her career in 1961. The reason is that I was only 18 in 1961, so everyone else is dead or too infirm to use a computer (friendly smile). If I like the play, I will be very, very interested in operalover21's response.

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I find that I pretty fully disagree with operalover21 on this. I saw it last Saturday night and was blown away.

 

I will admit, that for the first show in a long time, I had a spectacular seat...dead center in the sixth row, and having gotten used to seats in the back and sides, I always forget what a difference it can make. I thought that Larroquette gave a terrific turn as the wishy-washy man of ethics, so different from the only other two things I have seen him in...the smarmy DA on Night Court and the lovably smarmy Corporate bigwig in How to Succeed. His man of mush was as frustrating to me as it was to the previous president, played so breathtakingly by James Earl Jones.

 

Here I completely concur with ol21, who admired Mr. Jones' performance. Watching him was a study in great acting, and more importantly a study in great re-acting. (The harder of the actor's requirements.) Every expression, as we watched his disdain of the correct Russell, and his loathing of the snake-like Cantwell, played by Eric McCormack.

 

McCormack basically just expanded on the Will Truman character from the last season of Will and Grace. That character had become such a self-serving, whining, caricature of a gay man...and Cantwell was a self-serving, manipulative, well...politician. The only character whom I thought too over the top was Kerry Butler as Cantwell's wife. (But then it's impossible to forget Christine Ebersole in that role 12 years ago, opposite Chris Noth's Cantwell.)

 

Candice Bergen played so marvelously against her Murphy Brown type, that her moments of strength were very powerful, amidst the resigned futility that she embodied for the rest of the play.

 

And no one will quibble. Ms. Lansbury is perfect in the role of Ms. Gamadge, the go-to person for all views from the women.

 

I do think that the play has become somewhat reflective of a past sensibility, if that makes it dated, it's dated. Nowadays, the candidates think nothing of any tactic to eradicate their competition, be it from their own party, or the opposing. But as this show depicts...it's still early in the game of media-driven elections, and telling your opponent that they're perfect for the television audience is an insult. With Romney being wooed to make an appearance on SNL, the days of the newpaper interview, which is carefully screened and vetted are long gone.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Many thanks to all of the posters who have been somewhat negative about this show. Your negativity prepared me for what I thought was going to be an angonizing night, but as is so often the case my low expectations resulted in my having a most enjoyable experience. I personally think that a good portion of the drama is still relevant. If nothing else the opportunity to, once again, see actors such as Jones and Landsbury made it a worthwhile evening

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