The Best Man

Critics

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Reviews: 3

Audience

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Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play Nominated for Six Tony Awards including Best Play

Wasatch Theatrical Ventures presents an ideally timed race to the finish line. As the presidential election approaches, two frontrunners spar for their party’s nomination. Set during the 1976 Presidential Nominating Convention, the delegates must weigh the merits between two candidates with widely opposing values. When a self-made, less-than scrupulous, senator and an upstanding intellectual, former Secretary of State, gain information about their opponents, the twist is planted for an unexpected outcome. What could be more fun in a presidential campaign season than some theatrical fireworks?

"To want power is corruption already," wrote Gore Vidal. When Gary Lee Reed was asked to direct this award winning play, he noted, “Upon diving into the script I was astonished at how prescient Vidal was. All the political theatrics we’re dealing with now were themes of his timely play when it was first written in 1960 and, surprisingly, they seem even more relevant now. Regardless of where you are on the left – right spectrum you’ll appreciate how this play speaks of our current political landscape and the way that our public servants engage in the preservation of their power to the detriment of the citizenry.”

Directed by Gary Lee Reed, the cast includes Mark Belnick (Stage: All My Sons, The Andersonville Trial, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Inherit The Wind, Moon Over Buffalo; Film: "Lucretia" - HBO Latino Film Festival Selection, TV: Murder Book, member of Broadway partnerships co-producing Tony Award winners The Producers, Gypsy rev. & A Little Night Music rev.) as William Russell; Zack Carter* (Elevator at Coast Playhouse, Rob Reiner’s LBJ film with Woody Harrelson & Jennifer Jason Leigh) as Dick Jensen; Martha Hackett* (Occupant at Gary Marshall Theatre, Macbeth, Anatol, Happy End, Nora, Three Sisters - all Pacific Resident Theatre, Sight Unseen at Odyssey The Kentucky Cycle at Mark Taper Forum) as Alice Russell; Paul Morris III (Selected stage: Bobby in Benevolence at the Actors Company, Irv in Girders, at The Coast Playhouse, Red Star at the Matrix Theater) as Senator Carlin/Reporter; John Ruby (Fool for Love, Corktown ’57, The Maiden's Prayer, TV: Speechless, 2 Broke Girls, CSI) as Joseph Cantwell; Aubrey Saverino* (Off-Broadway/Regional: Dido & Aeneas at Dixon Place, Antigone, Mend at Epic Theatre Ensemble, Regan in King Lear, Maria in Twelfth Night The Old Globe, FILM: Adam Sandler’s “The Week Of”) as Mabel Cantwell; Edwin Scheibner (Fagin in Oliver, Renfield in Steven Dietz’s Dracula, The Actor in Woman in Black, FILM: “Hero” directed by Stephen Frears, and the Oscar-winning short film “Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall”) as Bill Blades/Sr. Artinian/Reporter; Michael William Thompson (Frank in All My Sons at The Lounge, Charlie vs. the Future - new pilot) as Sheldon Marcus/FBI agent; Ian Patrick Williams (The Andersonville Trial at Burbank’s Grove Theatre, co-starred (LA Weekly and Dramalogue Awards “Acting,” co-authored adaptation for PBS-TV - Chicago EMMY) in Bleacher Bums, Lakeboat with Ed O’Neill and George Wendt and Judgment at Nuremberg with Katherine Ross (Best Actor, Stage Scene L.A.) as Arthur Hockstader; Rachel Winfree (Fierce Backbone, Gladiators of Comedy, NEO Theatre Ensemble, TV: The Good Place, This is Us, Mom, Film: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Donnie Darko, Old School, Mostly Ghostly, all three of the Shiloh films and Winners) as Mrs. Gamadge.

“The Best Man” opens at 8pm on Saturday, November 2 and runs 8pm on Friday and Saturdays, 3pm on Sundays through December 8, 2019 (no performances November 29 –December 1). The Lounge Theatre is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd 
Los Angeles, CA 90038, with ample street parking. Tickets are $30. Reservations: (323) 960-7787 or online www.onstage411.com/bestman

Reviews

Avatar

...the three women shine, and it’s hard not to wish for an alternative reality where Mrs. Gamadge takes control, the women move to the forefront and the men head to a bar to reminisce about their days of glory.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

As great as it is to hear intelligent dialogue spoken by fully formed characters in a twisty political thriller, this WTV production misses hitting the bullseye...The main problem in this production is Mark Belnick in the leading role of William Russell...This grave miscasting sinks this production to a lower level, one of curiosity piece rather than thrilling and barbed political discourse.

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

Gary Lee Reed directs a committed, but uneven cast. Curious interpretation having the opposing candidates running for president as polar opposites, flip sides of a coin. Mark Belnick's Governor William Russell is everything John Ruby's Senator Joseph Cantwell isn't. While Ruby's Cantwell charms, had lots of charisma, self-confidence and a take charge energy; Belnick's bland, unassuming Russell has none. Hard to imagine Belnick's Russell even speaking in front of an audience to campaign for president, let alone governor.

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

...the three women shine, and it’s hard not to wish for an alternative reality where Mrs. Gamadge takes control, the women move to the forefront and the men head to a bar to reminisce about their days of glory.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

As great as it is to hear intelligent dialogue spoken by fully formed characters in a twisty political thriller, this WTV production misses hitting the bullseye...The main problem in this production is Mark Belnick in the leading role of William Russell...This grave miscasting sinks this production to a lower level, one of curiosity piece rather than thrilling and barbed political discourse.

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

Gary Lee Reed directs a committed, but uneven cast. Curious interpretation having the opposing candidates running for president as polar opposites, flip sides of a coin. Mark Belnick's Governor William Russell is everything John Ruby's Senator Joseph Cantwell isn't. While Ruby's Cantwell charms, had lots of charisma, self-confidence and a take charge energy; Belnick's bland, unassuming Russell has none. Hard to imagine Belnick's Russell even speaking in front of an audience to campaign for president, let alone governor.

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review