I was lucky enough to be able to see a preview performance of All the Way a couple of weeks ago which opened a week ago tonight. It’s a new drama by Robert Schenkkan that received ridiculous reviews at A.R.T. in Boston. A drama about LBJ’s first year or so in office trying to get the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 passed starring Bryan Cranston as LBJ.
I love history plays so I loved this one. It was an era that I’d not known the exact details of. The violence, the struggle, the bargaining behind closed doors. It reminded me of the movie Lincoln if only because it reflected what’s going on today in government and how nothing really ever changes. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I’ve seen Cranston in a couple of movies, but not Breaking Bad (give me five years). But I was thoroughly impressed by his acting chops onstage. He conveyed to the audience his inner struggles excellently. I also really enjoyed Betsy Aidem as Lady Bird Johnson. Other noteables in the cast were John McMartin (duh) as Senative Richard Russell, Michael McKean as J. Edgar Hoover, and James Eckhouse as Martin Luther King Hr.
That said, every person in the cast was fantastic. The lighting (Jane Cox) and sound designs (Peter Fitzgerald) were also notable and effective.
Was All the Way long? Oh yes. Clocking in at a few minutes under 3 hours, it was longer than your usual Broadway play. But did I care? Not for one second. Bryan Cranston was just that good.
Tickets provided by the production. All opinions are my own.