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Theater Review: 'Gore Vidal's The Best Man' -- 3 stars

Kristin Davis and John Stamos in "Gore Vidal's

Kristin Davis and John Stamos in "Gore Vidal's The Best Man." Credit: Kristin Davis and John Stamos in "Gore Vidal's The Best Man."

Gore Vidal's The Best Man
3 stars

Whenever a famous author passes away, lavish tributes to his or her body of work are hastily arranged. But how fortunate for us that a very popular revival of "The Best Man," the best-known play of Gore Vidal, who passed away last month at age 86, is already running on Broadway.

The 1960 drama explores the behind-the-scenes plotting and scheming that occurs at an unnamed political party's presidential nominating convention.

The play is essentially an old-fashioned, well-constructed potboiler.

The cast of Michael Wilson's star-packed production originally included James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, Eric McCormack, Michael McKean, Kerry Butler and John Larroquette.

While Jones and Larroquette remain, they are now joined by Elizabeth Ashley (replacing Lansbury), Cybill Shepherd (replacing Bergen), John Stamos (replacing McCormack), Mark Blum (replacing McKean), and Kristin Davis (replacing Butler).

Although Lansbury, who managed to steal the show as a gossipy committee chair, is certainly missed, the production is actually in better shape now than it was back in April.

Stamos is a natural fit for the sly and aggressive Senator Joseph Cantwell, and Davis gleefully plays up the role of his pampered wife. And Shepherd is masterful as the disheartened wife of Secretary of State William Russell (Larroquette)

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