A new slate of stars step up to take the place of departing cast members in the Broadway production of Gore Vidal's The Best Man tonight.
Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting) is replacing Candice Bergen as a politician's long-suffering wife, John Stamos (Full House) is succeeding Eric McCormack as a slick rival politician, and Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) is taking over Kerry Butler's role as his wife.
Original cast members James Earl Jones (giving The Best Man's most enjoyable performance as a former President of the United States), John Larroquette, Jefferson Mays, and Angela Lansbury are still with the production, though Lansbury is scheduled to depart on July 24 when Elizabeth Ashley (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) will take over her role.
Though The Best Man didn't win any Tony Awards last month = it was nominated for Best Revival of a Play and James Earl Jones received a Best Actor nod--the production has done quite well, nearly selling out during its first weeks and going on to enjoy an average of 80% capacity since then. Written in 1960, its story of presidential politics still feels pretty timely during this election year. The play was originally scheduled for a limited run ending on July 8, but extended to September 9 2012 due to popular demand (which was undoubtedly excited by its starry cast).