The Best Woman by Gary Earl Ross

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

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Performance rights must be secured before production
Contact information:Amateur and professional rights:
Gary Earl Ross
228 Highgate Avenue
Buffalo, NY
USA, 14215
Ph: (716)308-0807

About the Playwright: Gary Earl Ross is a language arts professor at the University at Buffalo EOC and the author of more than 170 published short stories, poems, articles, scholarly papers, and public radio essays. Named Erie County’s 2003 Artist of the Year, Ross has won numerous awards for writing, including a LIFT Fiction Fellowship, an Artie Award for the play Matter of Intent, and for his public radio essays first place commentary awards from the New York State Associated Press and the New York Broadcasters’ Association.

Readers of Artvoice voted him the 2008 Best Writer in Buffalo. His books and staged plays include The Wheel of Desire and Other Intimate Hauntings (2000), Shimmerville: Tales Macabre and Curious (2002), Sleepwalker: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2002), the children’s tale Dots (2002), Matter of Intent (2005 Ujima Theater world premiere and winner of the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America), Picture Perfect (from the 2007 Tennessee Stage Company New Play Festival in Knoxville), and The Best Woman (from Ujima in 2007).

A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, the Mystery Writers of America, and the Just Buffalo Literary Center, Ross was recently named playwright-in-residence at Ujima Company and was awarded a 2008 Constance Saltonstall Foundation Playwriting Grant. His novel,Blackbird Rising, was published in 2009, and Matter of Intent received a staged reading at London’s Bridewell Theater in June 2009.

Best Woman was first produced by the Ujima TheatreLoft, Buffalo, New York in 2007.

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