October 27, 2014

OCTA’s “The Best Man” Delivers Witty and Engrossing Political Drama

OCTA's "The Best Man" Delivers Witty and Engrossing Political Drama

Classic Script by Gore Vidal Explores Timeless Political Themes

CONTACT: Victoria Hoffman
816-728-2048 | victorialatoya72@gmail.com

OLATHE, KAN., Oct. 23, 2014: The Olathe Civic Theatre Association continues its 40th Anniversary Season with Gore Vidal's "The Best Man," which runs Nov. 7-23.

The story of two vying political candidates brings the backstabbing world of campaigning to light through a witty and thought-provoking script. Although the play first premiered on Broadway in 1960, its Broadway revivals in 2000 and 2012 are a testament to the play's staying power in reflecting the good, bad and ugly of U.S. politics, regardless of era.

The play begins with the Presidential primaries in Philadelphia, where an ethical man running for the Presidential nomination runs against an unscrupulous one. Liberal candidate William Russell is likeable and prides himself on his honesty finds challenges around every corner with the bigoted and dishonest populist southern senator Joseph Cantwell who will do anything to win. Both candidates try to get the endorsement of the popular outgoing president, who enjoys toying with them and encouraging dirty play by not telling them which one he'll endorse.

The show is directed by John Robison, who has founded both community theatre and improvisational acting organizations, including The Roving Imp Theatre in Lawrence, KS. He studied improvisational comedy in Chicago and has performed in and directed numerous theatrical organizations over the past 30 years.

"The Best Man script is so rich, and the characters are so multi-faceted, it's not really just a show about an election. It's a show about how humans interact when the stakes are high," Robison said.

"After this show, I hope audiences will take another look at their elected officials, peel away the television facade, and try to see the human that is so carefully hidden away. This play addresses the fact we're all just people, with our own individual strengths and weaknesses."

The cast includes Don Leonard, Anna Koehler, Joshua Epstein, Doug Ford, Meghann Bates, Peter Leondedis, Tom Sutton, Claudia Copping, Patty Peden, Laura Burt, Ken Schmidt, and Derrick Freeman, with a creative team of Erin Fox (stage manager) and Greg Westfall (set and lighting design).

The Best Man opens Nov. 7 and runs weekends through Nov. 23, with afternoon matinee performances on Sundays. Reservations and more information are available at olathetheatre.org or by calling 913-782-2990.

OCTA is a proud recipient of the PerformArts 2014-15 series grant, underwritten by the Richard J. Stern Foundation.

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