From the front seat to the White House: James Earl Jones, currently starring in Driving Miss Daisy, has signed on to star in The Best Man, Gore Vidal’s 1960 political drama, reports Playbill. The lead role–that of an embattled former president choosing which candidate to endorse–was, incidentally, portrayed by a white actor, Charles Durning, in the show’s last production in 2000. This production is set for another election year–it will debut in spring 2012. Start writing your comparisons-to-Obama trend pieces now!
Update: Producer Jeffrey Richards emails The Observer:
While the production in 2000 was wonderful and relevant, we opened after the Conventions. For this upcoming 2012 production, we are doing what the original Broadway play did and opening before the Conventions. Opening pre-Convention will capture the national feeling — and it will be very intriguing for Broadway audiences to reflect on the discourse that inevitably happens during election seasons.
James Earl Jones is one of our greatest actors and a national treasure. Gore Vidal and director Michael Wilson thought he would be an apt choice for this role. He is taking a big leap from ‘Chauffeur’ to ‘President’–we think that’s the biggest promotion in Broadway history.
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