By Adam Hetrick
25 Sep 2013
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
All The Way is directed by Bill Rauch, who staged the premiere of the play in 2012 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he serves as artistic director. The play began its A.R.T. run Sept. 13 and officially opened there Sept. 19. It will continue through Oct. 12. Schenkkan is the Pulitzer-winning playwright of The Kentucky Cycle.
A representative for the theatre confirmed to Playbill that a limited number of seats, which are already selling quickly, have been added to performances throughout the remainder of the run. In addition, a limited number of standing-room tickets are sold on the day of each show at the A.R.T. ticket services office.
There is talk that the play will premiere on Broadway in spring 2014, although an official announcement has not been made. Producers such as Jeffrey Richards, who was the lead producer on Porgy and Bess and The Glass Menagerie — which both began life at A.R.T. prior to Broadway — are interested in transferring the drama to Broadway.
Here's how it's billed: "1963. An assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon Baines Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing the country into turmoil. Alternately bullying and beguiling, he enacts major social programs, faces down opponents and wins the 1964 election in a landslide. But in faraway Vietnam, a troublesome conflict looms. In the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright’s vivid dramatization of LBJ’s first year in office, means versus ends plays out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war."
"He was bigger than life," Cranston said of LBJ. "Sometimes he was friendly, sometimes he was vicious. He would cajole, he would threaten, he would pressure, he would hug. He swung so wide on the spectrum of human emotions in order to accomplish what he felt needed to be done. It doesn't take much time for an actor to look at that and go, 'Wow, how wonderful and frightening to step in those shoes!'"
In addition to Cranston ("Breaking Bad," "Argo," "Little Miss Sunshine"), the premiere cast includes Brandon J. Dirden (The Piano Lesson, Enron) as Martin Luther King Jr., Michael McKean (The Homecoming, Superior Donuts) as J. Edgar Hoover, Reed Birney (Picnic, Blasted) as Hubert Humphrey, Dakin Matthews (Gore Vidal's The Best Man, "Lincoln") as Richard Russell, Arnie Burton (Peter and The Starcatcher) as Robert McNamara, Crystal Dickinson (Clybourne Park) as Coretta Scott King, Betsy Aidem (Nikolai and the Others) as Lady Bird Johnson, Eric Lenox Abrams (The Piano Lesson) as Bob Moses, Peter Jay Fernandez (Cyrano de Bergerac) as Roy Wilkins, Susannah Schulman (Distracted) as Lurleen Wallace, Dan Butler ("Frasier," "Roseanne") as George Wallace, J. Bernard Calloway (Man on a Ledge, “Person of Interest”) as Ralph Abernathy, William Jackson Harper (Titus Andronicus) as Stokely Carmichael, Christopher Liam Moore (All The Way) as Walter Jenkins and Ethan Phillips (November) as Stanley Levison.
Set design is by Christopher Acebo with costume design by Deborah M. Dryden, lighting design by Jane Cox, original music and sound design by Paul James Pendergast and video projections by Shawn Sagady.
Visit AmericanRepertoryTheater. A.R.T. is located at 64 Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA.