From the 2000-2001 NEIU STAGE CENTER THEATRE SEASON
October 19,  20,  21, 26,  27,  28, November 2, 3, 4
THE BEST MAN
        by:   Gore Vidal
       William Russell, the ex-Secretary of State, is a wit and scholar with high liberal principles, beloved of the eggheads and suspected by practical politicians. Joseph Cantwell is a ruthless and hard-driving young man, a dirty fighter who will let no scruples stand in the way of his ambitions. And Arthur Hockstader is an ex-President, who loves politics for their own sake, admires a rough-and-tumble baffler more than a chivalrous one, and is determined to have the final say in the selection of his party's candidate ...The ruthless young man has got hold of papers indicating that his rival once suffered from a mental crackup, which he is all set to use. Then his scrupulous antagonist comes across some incriminating evidence about Cantwell, which he is loath to produce. The scruples don't appeal to the ex-President, who enjoys seeing the boys fight. All of this provides the framework for some vivid and interesting scenes in which Mr. Vidal contrasts the minds, emotions and fighting spirits of the two candidates to good dramatic effect.  (Dramatists Play Service , Inc. Catalog)


Director's Notes:  In this election year with political candidates in abundance and Democrats and Republicans mirroring images of each other, it seems fitting to do Gore Vidal's The Best Man. Written forty years ago, in what we nostalgically think of as a "revolutionary," expressive," and "charged" time, the play pointedly demonstrates how our times and issues have not changed and, therefore, our issues have not been successfully addressed.  Politics continues to be intrigues mounted upon accusations and issues' taking second place to personalities and rumors.

    In  1960 the major parties did not have candidates chosen before the convention.  The convention was, therefore, a dramatic spectacle of national importance.  At this event, the parties fought to select the best possible candidate.  A great many deals and promises were made in this rough and tumble arena.  The convention itself was a charged and exiting event filled with all the elements of grand theater.  Representatives and power brokers of various stripes held blocks of votes that could make or break a promising candidate.

    We hope that you can put yourself in that time frame and hold the excitement of choosing the "Best Man" for the next "President of the United States."
Glenn Frail, Bill Hyland, Eric Freitas, Chad
Christensen, William Mombela
Dana Wachtel, Jeff Wade

Directed by Anna Antaramian
Set Design by Robert G. Smith
Costume Design by Tina Haglund

Cast (in order of appearance)

Alice Russell........Dana Watchell
William Russell........Jeff Wade
Dick Jensen........Joseph Alaimo
Reporter 1........Chad Christensen
Reporter 2........Eric Freitas
Reporter 3........Jeng Fong
Photographer 1........William Mayer
Photographer 2........William Mobela
Mrs. Gamadge........Helen Johnson
Aide........Sheryl Tan
Art Hockstader........Pat Cummings
Mabel Cantwell........Lindsey Pearlman
Joe Cantwell........Bill Hyland
Don Blades........Tim Libretti
Delegate........Collette Borland
Senator Carlin........Michael Stovic
Dr. Artinian........Steve Truncale
Sheldon Marcus........Glenn Frail

Production Staff

Stage Manager: Jaime Lynn Burns
Asst. Stage Manager: Adam Doud
Technical Assistant: Catherine Valladres
Sound Technician: Jeng Fong
Costume Assistant: William Mayer
Property Manager: Ann Censotti
Property Assistant: Kim Crawford
Property Mistress: Sheryl Tan
Publicity Coordinator: Joseph Alaimo
Publicity Assistants: Edina Nikovic, Brandon Sifrar
SCT Reception Coordinator: Carole Brown
SCT Photographer: Ann Censotti
Master Electrician: Adam Doud
Running Crew: Chad Christensen, Eric Freitas, William Mombela
Box Office: Chrstina Bordabeheres, Jeremy Mangan
Set Construction: Deborah Larys, Doug Owens, Karen Dandino, Steve Truncale

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