In the O’Neill play Best will play the role of Josie opposite Spacey’s Jim Tyrone, a third-rate actor and the landlord and drinking partner of Josie’s father.
The character of Josie is very different from that of Hedda Gabler, which Best played in last year's Almeida production, which later transferred to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre. For that performance Best won an Olivier Award for Best Actress.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about the contrast between the two roles, Best said, "I know she [Josie] has low self-esteem, but I love the idea of playing someone who’s a nurturer, having just been somebody who’s the opposite.”
The Old Vic's third season under Spacey will kick off Sept. 26 (previews begin Sept. 15) with O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten. The production will reunite Spacey and Howard Davies, who directed Spacey in O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh.
That hugely successful 1999 revival, which transferred from the Almeida to the Old Vic and went on to Broadway, proved to be a landmark production. The run for O’Neill’s play will finish before Christmas, and there are hopes that a successful production could transfer to Broadway.
Best’s last appearance in an O’Neill play – as Lavinia in the National’s 2003-04 production of Mourning Becomes Electra - was also directed by Howard Davies.