Comedy-Drama / 9 Characters, 5 Men, 4 Women / Full Length, Two Acts
For the first time, both major party presidential candidates are women. Dr. Nea Gilchrist, former Secretary of State and the first African-American woman Vice President, must distance herself from Sam Houston Bullard, the conservative Republican President to whom she owes her political success. Senator Amanda Dean Styles, a white northeastern liberal and the widow of Brendan Styles, a charismatic Democratic presidential candidate, must emerge from the shadows of the tragedy that shaped her political future. Tonight is their first debate . . .
From The Buffalo News: “The strength of the play comes not in the scenes between the two candidates, but as their political advisers strategize and plot backstabbing techniques before the debate . . . . Surprisingly, Ross reserves equal vitriol for both sides of the aisle in this play, while he could very well have let it slip into a raving diatribe against the Bush administration. In a particularly telling scene, Gilchrist, the Republican candidate, gets a call from Rev. Bob Patterson, Ross’s version of televangelist Pat Robertson. Speaking about the gay group the Log Cabin Republicans, Patterson suggests, ‘If they want to be gay, they should just be Democrats.’
“When the phone call is over, Gilchrist quips, ‘People like him used to be presidential assassins, not presidential advisers.’ It’s an unexpected humanization of the Republican side of things, and a look into the hypocrisy inherent in running a campaign for either party. It’s refreshing to see Gilchrist not as a possessed neoconservative pawn, but a woman, as Ross puts it, whose ‘good intentions deprived her of a deeper social conscience.’ But, conversely, the good intentions of The Best Woman can only make our social consciences deeper.”
“Well-written and tightly constructed, its characters imbued either with authentic good nature or downright fiendishness . . . . [the] smart, cutting dialogue is engaging enough to make the drama at least as amusing as the political process of the last few years.
– Colin Dabhowski, Buffalo News
“Gary Earl Ross, who achieved a huge success with his play, Matter of Intent, which won the Emanuel Fried Award at the Arties before going on to win the 2005 Edgar Award for best play from the Mystery Writers of America, has turned his attention to politics in his new play, The Best Woman . . . . Ross’s writing is witty and provides a rapid pace for the actors . . . . The playwright lavishes time on a second act television debate making it clear that his main goal is parody, not drama.”
– Anthony Chase, Artvoice Theater Week
Contact information:Amateur and professional rights:
Gary Earl Ross
228 Highgate Avenue
About the Playwright: Gary Earl Ross, a retired UB/EOC language arts professor, is the author of more than 200 published short stories, poems, articles, op-ed articles, scholarly papers, and public radio essays. His works include the short story collections The Wheel of Desire (2000) and Shimmerville (2002), the children’s story Dots (2002), the novels Blackbird Rising and Nickel City Blues (2017), and the stage plays Sleepwalker (2002), Picture Perfect (2007), The Best Woman (2007), Matter of Intent (winner of the 2006 Edgar Allan Poe Award from Mystery Writers of America), Murder Squared (2011), The Scavenger’s Daughter (2012), The Guns of Christmas (2014), The Mark of Cain (2016), and The Trial of Trayvon Martin (2017).Ross’s plays have been performed in Buffalo, NY; New York, NY; Rochester, NY; Bend, OR; Knoxville, TN; Spring Lake, NJ; Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada; West Sussex, England; Manchester, England; London, England; Shanghai, China; Manipal, India; and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Ross edited Nickel City Nights (2008) and co-edited (with Gunilla Theander Kester) The Empty Chair: Love and Loss in the Wake of Flight 3407 (2010) and The Still Empty Chair (2011). Released in 2017 by Black Opal Books is Nickel City Blues, the first Buffalo-based Gideon Rimes mystery.
In addition to the Edgar, Ross’s honors include three Emanuel Fried Outstanding New Play Awards, a LIFT Fiction Fellowship, a Saltonstall Foundation Playwriting Fellowship, an ASI/DEC Fiction Grant, public radio commentary awards from the New York Associated Press and the New York Broadcasters Association, and numerous awards for teaching or professional, university, or community service. A member of the Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Dramatists Guild of America, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the National Writers Union, Ross has written, directed, or acted in plays for Ujima Company, the Subversive Theatre Collective, New Phoenix Theater, Road Less Traveled Productions, and the Towne Players.
Best Woman was first produced by the Ujima TheatreLoft, Buffalo, New York in 2007.
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