Originally Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012, 3:17 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 31, 2012, 11:23 pm

'The Best Man' may win at District Theatre

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

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"The Best Man," by Gore Vidal, opens at The District Theatre on Tuesday, starring (clockwise from lower left) Jonathan Grafft, Matt Mercer and Pat Flaherty.

Political choices for Quad-Citians will not end on Election Day. On Tuesday, when Americans cast their ballots, the cast of the District Theatre's new production, "The Best Man," will debut at 1611 2nd Ave., Rock Island.

Directed by Bryan Tank, Gore Vidal's 1960 play (which won the Best Play Tony) brings us to fictional presidential primaries in the summer of 1960 in Philadelphia, as an ethical man is running for the nomination against an unscrupulous man.

Populist Southern Sen. Joseph Cantwell (Jonathan Grafft) is a "bigot and a charlatan," while William Russell (Matt Mercer), who prides himself on his honesty, is the liberal candidate, "likable, forceful and humorous." Both candidates try to get the endorsement of the popular outgoing president, Arthur Hockstader (Pat Flaherty), who enjoys not telling them which one he'll endorse.

Helping to populate this political landscape will be Quad-Cities favorites Denise Yoder, Susan Perrin-Sallak, Danny White, Ed Villarreal, Doug Kutzli, Joseph Maubach, Bryan Woods, among other familiar faces.

"The Best Man" will be performed Nov. 6-10 and Nov. 15-17 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. They're available at (309) 235-1654 or tristan@districttheatre.com.