Co-Directors Timothy H. Lynch and Christina A. Coakley propel the actors through their paces with vigor and seamless efficiency. The more humorous scenes blend together organically with the more dramatic moments. Lynch and Coakley do a superb job of establishing the tone of the play as it straddles the cynical components of politics with the more idealistic segments.
Garrulous and earthy, Kevin Adams steals the show as the tough-minded but physically infirmed President Hockstader. As he pours another glass of bourbon and branch water while uttering bawdy remarks, one can’t help but be impressed by his acting authority; Adams appears to be channeling the vulgarity of Big Daddy from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with the political expediency of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Susan Marie Rhea as Mrs. (Mabel) Cantwell is also superb and is perfectly cast in her part. Rena Cherry Brown as the National Chairwoman Sue-Ellen Gamadge delivers another jewel of a performance. Michael Innocenti delivers a nicely nuanced performance as Sheldon Marcus – the person who may or may not bring down one of the candidates. Sheri Herren is quietly charming and self-effacing in her role as Alice Russell.
As the two dueling political candidates seeking endorsement, Mark A. Rhea and Colin Smith are both well-cast and especially stand out in the scene where they are alone on stage testing each other’s limits and fear of disclosures and dark secrets from their past.
Michael Innocenti is also to be credited with the stellar and functional Scenic Design that consists of dark, heavy mahogany furniture set against two adjoining adjacent entranceways and topped off with a raised central platform that specific characters are lit against. Lighting Design by Katie McCreary is top-notch on all levels. Costume Design by Erin Nugent very accurately conveys the look of the 1960s. The Sound Design by Dan Deiter was continually surprising and provocative.