Neil Simon Theatre, (3/06/2014 - 6/29/2014)

First Preview: Feb 10, 2014
Opening Date: Mar 06, 2014
Closing Date: Jun 29, 2014
Total Previews: 27
Total Performances: 131

Category: Play, Drama, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Nederlander Organization (James M. Nederlander: Chairman; James L. Nederlander: President)

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Louise Gund, Jerry Frankel, Stephanie P. McClelland, Double Gemini Productions, Rebecca Gold, Scott M. Delman, Barbara Freitag, Harvey Weinstein, Gene Korf, William Berlind, Caiola Productions, Gutterman Chernoff, Jam Theatricals, Gabrielle Palitz, Cheryl Wiesenfeld and Will Trice; Associate Producer: Rob Hinderliter & Dominick LaRuffa, Jr., Michael Crea and PJ Miller

Originally presented by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The American Repertory Theatre

Written by Robert Schenkkan; Composer: Paul James Prendergast

Directed by Bill Rauch; Associate Director: Emily Sophia Knapp

Scenic Design by Christopher Acebo; Costume Design by Deborah M. Dryden; Lighting Design by Jane Cox; Sound Design by Paul James Prendergast; Hair and Wig Design by Paul Huntley; Projection Design by Shawn Sagady; Associate Scenic Design: Steven C. Kemp; Associate Costume Design: Sarah Smith; Associate Lighting Design: Porsche McGovern; Associate Projection Design: Michael Clark; Moving Light Programmer: Jay Penfield; Assistant Sound Design: Kevin Heard ; Watchout Projection Programming: Paul Vershbow

General Manager: Richards / Climan, Inc.; Company Manager: Alexandra Agosta; Assistant Co. Mgr: Kendall Booher

Technical Supervisor: Hudson Theatrical Associates; Production Stage Manager: Matthew Farrell; Stage Manager: James Latus

Dramaturg: Tom Bryant; Dialect Coach: Rebecca Clark Carey; Casting: Telsey + Company and Will Cantler, CSA; Projection Consultant: Wendall K. Harrington; Sound Consultant: Peter Fitzgerald; Press Representative: Irene Gandy and Alana Karpoff; Advertising: AKA; Interactive Marketing: Broadway's Best Shows and Andy Drachenberg; Photographer: Evgenia Eliseeva; Press Associate: Christopher Pineda; Website/Design/Online Marketing Strategy: AKA

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Opening Night Cast

Bryan Cranston
Broadway debut
President Lyndon Baines Johnson
Eric Lenox AbramsBob Moses
COFO co-director
David Dennis
CORE leader, MS
Betsy AidemLady Bird Johnson
First Lady
Katharine Graham
Washington Post publisher
Rep. Katharine St. George, R-NY
J. Bernard CallowayRev. Ralph Abernathy
SCLC secretary-treasurer
White House Aide/Butler
Rob CampbellGov. George Wallace, D-AL
Rep. James Corman, D-CA
Joseph Alsop
Sen. Mike Mansfield, D-MT
Walter Reuther
president of UAW
Brandon J. DirdenRev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
SCLC president
James EckhouseRobert McNamara
Secretary of Defense
Sen. James Eastland, D-MS
Rep. William Moore McCulloch, R-OH
Gov. Paul B. Johnson, Jr., D-MS
Peter Jay FernandezRoy Wilkins
NAACP executive director
Aaron Henry
MFDP delegate
Christopher GurrSen. Strom Thurmond, D-SC
White House Aide/Butler
William Jackson HarperJames Harrison
SCLC accountant
Stokely Carmichael
SNCC organizer
Michael McKeanJ. Edgar Hoover
FBI director
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV
John McMartinSen. Richard Russell, D-GA
Christopher Liam MooreWalter Jenkins
top aide to LBJ
Rep. William Colmer, D-MS
Robert PetkoffSen. Hubert Humphrey, D-MN
Ethan PhillipsStanley Levison
SCLC advisor
Rep. John McCormack, D-MA
Seymore Trammell
District Attorney in Alabama
Rev. Edwin King
MFDP organizer
Richard PoeCartha "Deke" DeLoach
FBI deputy director
Rep. Howard "Judge" Smith, D-VA
Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-IL
Gov. Carl Sanders, D-GA
Roslyn RuffCoretta Scott King
Fannie Lou Hamer
SNCC organizer
Susannah SchulmanSecretary
Lurleen Wallace
Muriel Humphrey
Sen. Maurine Neuberger, D-OR
Bill TimoneySen. Karl Mundt, R-SD
White House Aide/Butler
Steve VinovichRep. Emanuel Celler, D-NY
White House Aide/Butler

Understudies: Tony Carlin (Cartha "Deke" DeLoach, Gov. Carl Sanders, D-GA, J. Edgar Hoover, Rep. Emanuel Celler, D-NY, Rep. Howard "Judge" Smith, D-VA, Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-IL, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-MN, Sen. Richard Russell, D-GA, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, White House Aide/Butler), Gina Daniels (Coretta Scott King, Fannie Lou Hamer), Christopher Gurr (Gov. George Wallace, D-AL, Rep. James Corman, D-CA, Rep. William Colmer, D-MS, Sen. Mike Mansfield, D-MT, Walter Jenkins, Walter Reuther), Danny Johnson (Aaron Henry, Bob Moses, David Dennis, James Harrison, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Roy Wilkins, Shoeshiner, Stokely Carmichael, White House Aide/Butler), Monette Magrath (Katharine Graham, Lady Bird Johnson, Lurleen Wallace, Maid, Muriel Humphrey, Rep. Katharine St. George, R-NY, Secretary, White House Aide), Bill Timoney (Gov. Paul B. Johnson, Jr., D-MS, Rep. William Moore McCulloch, R-OH, Robert McNamara, Sen. James Eastland, D-MS, Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-SC, White House Aide/Butler) and Steve Vinovich (President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Rep. John McCormack, D-MA, Rev. Edwin King, Seymore Trammell, Stanley Levison)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

winner 2014 Best Play [winner] 

Written by Robert Schenkkan; Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Louise Gund, Jerry Frankel, Stephanie P. McClelland, Double Gemini Productions, Rebecca Gold, Scott M. Delman, Barbara Freitag, Harvey Weinstein, Gene Korf, William Berlind, Caiola Productions, Gutterman Chernoff, Jam Theatricals, Gabrielle Palitz, Cheryl Wiesenfeld and Will Trice; Originally presented by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The American Repertory Theatre

winner 2014 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play [winner] 

Bryan Cranston

Drama Desk Award

winner 2014 Outstanding Play [winner] 

Written by Robert Schenkkan; Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Louise Gund, Jerry Frankel, Stephanie P. McClelland, Double Gemini Productions, Rebecca Gold, Scott M. Delman, Barbara Freitag, Harvey Weinstein, Gene Korf, William Berlind, Caiola Productions, Gutterman Chernoff, Jam Theatricals, Gabrielle Palitz, Cheryl Wiesenfeld and Will Trice; Originally presented by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The American Repertory Theatre

winner 2014 Outstanding Actor in a Play [winner] 

Bryan Cranston

 2014 Outstanding Sound Design in a Play [nominee] 

Sound Design by Paul James Prendergast

 2014 Outstanding Director of a Play [nominee] 

Bill Rauch

 2014 Outstanding Projection Design [nominee] 

Projection Design by Shawn Sagady

Theatre World

winner 2014 Award [recipient] 

Bryan Cranston


AP: "Bryan Cranston Superb in 'All the Way'"

The new Broadway play "All the Way," about President Lyndon B. Johnson's first bumpy term in office, may seem like a serious, dusty affair suitable for high school field trips. Don't be fooled: Leave the little ones at home or risk having some kids come home with foul stories.

The Johnson who emerges at the Neil Simon Theatre is ferocious and vulgar, likely to grab you by your throat and toss off a disgusting joke or throw around four-letter words. In Bryan Cranston's hands, he's completely irascible — and one of the highlights of the Broadway season.

Robert Schenkkan's play, which opened Thursday with two dozen actors portraying some 40 characters, opens on a plane moments after Johnson has been sworn in after President John F. Kennedy's assassination and takes us up to his election win in November 1964.

Along the way, LBJ tries to push through civil rights legislation and juggle his own campaign as Southern Democrats rebel. Over its sprawling three hours, the play also explores Martin Luther King Jr.'s attempts to keep his movement from fragmenting, the growing war in Vietnam and a snooping FBI led by J. Edgar Hoover.

Cranston, fresh off his triumph as a drug kingpin in "Breaking Bad," shows what he can do in a Broadway debut, and it's astonishing. He looks nothing like Johnson, but no matter: Cranston, with his hair slicked back, his pants hiked up and in a pair of thick black glasses, stretches his rubbery face into a near-constant Johnson scowl and makes that good ol' boy accent run riot.

Watching Cranston bully, threaten, feel sorry for himself, compromise, bellow and turn the knife is a hoot, no matter which side of the aisle you sit. Like "House of Cards," the play explores the ugly sausage of politics and the gulf between the public and private politician.

"The politician's curse, see, is the desperate desire, the absolute need to plan for every contingency, anticipate every problem, to control everything, even as you know that's impossible," Johnson says.

Other standouts in the cast include an oily Michael McKean as Hoover, William Jackson Harper as a fiery Stokely Carmichael, Brandon J. Dirden as a sonorous King and Betsey Aidem, who makes the small part of Lady Bird Johnson a little jewel. Eric Lenox Abrams also gives a powerful demand for justice from a box seat as activist David Dennis.

The other real star here is director Bill Rauch, who keeps this jigsaw puzzle humming along. There are countless scenes and a staggering number of parts, and the action spills out into the aisles. But moments melt into the next flawlessly, and the main actors pivot seamlessly, often not waiting for the actors in the last scene to leave.

The set by Christopher Acebo helps: It's a semicircle of wooden seats, almost like a jury box, in which some actors wait for their next scene or use it to portray offices or the Senate or even a car and a ditch filled with bodies. There's even an Oval Office bed tucked inside that rolls out.

In an inspired touch, Rauch has turned presidential phone calls into something akin to watching a cockfight. Cranston's Johnson will put the call on speaker and then roam pugnaciously around the center of the stage as the hapless person on the other end sits under a spotlight. There's also a neat side-by-side moment when King is making his Nobel Price acceptance speech and Johnson shares the stage while making a campaign stop in New Orleans.

Schenkkan's script is a little crammed and nonstop frantic, but he ensures it never feels like a dry history lesson. In fact, there's a sequel in the works, and even after a three-hour tour here you'll be itching for more, especially if Cranston returns. Everyone's singing "Happy Days Are Here Again" in the final scene, but it feels vaguely like "Richard III" since we know what's coming.


New York Daily News: "All The Way"

School is in session on Broadway at Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way,” the talky but terrifically acted poli-sci seminar about President Lyndon Johnson.

Hot off a prize-winning streak on “Breaking Bad,” Bryan Cranston drives this star vehicle covering LBJ’s turbulent first year in the top job with an uncanny authority and confidence rare in first time Broadway performers. The actor is at the height of his power playing a commander-in-chief striving to harness his own.

Cranston, who turns 58 Friday, is fiery, ferocious, scary and, quite often very funny as the President who struggles in 1964 to validate his “accidental” rise while also ensuring re-election. Getting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is key to achieving both — but the clock is ticking and the ranks of opponents are growing.

Cranston doesn’t look all that much like Johnson, but he nails the Lone Star drawl, as well as LBJ’s ruthless glint and his bullying — and that goes a long way here. Johnson isn’t drawn with great nuance and the performance matches its construction. Cranston is very cranked up as he cajoles, back-pedals, wheedles, whines and lies, and betrays politicians, intimates and even his wife.

At times, “All the Way” could be called “All You Can Eat” (as in, the scenery). Cranston’s bigger-than-Texas approach works in this production directed by Bill Rauch, the head of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where the show bowed with another actor in the title role.

From LBJ’s first words, he’s facing one fight after another. While on the plane from Texas after the Kennedy assassination, he has a scary dream that his enemies are about to kill him, too — then wakes up and takes full charge at the snap of a finger. Cranston’s LBJ is a gladiator striving for validation, a big policy coup, and, yes, love.

Whenever Cranston is on stage, and that’s often, he creates a force field of energy and focus. The diffuse play needs all the help in can get in that regard, though Schenkkan, who won a Pulitzer for “The Kentucky Cycle,” has clearly done his research.

The dialogue can be potent, as when LBJ regards his sincere desire to bridge the nation’s racial gap. “All my life as a Southerner I’ve had to bite my tongue on this issue till my mouth was fulla blood,” he says.

But there are clunkers and clichés, too, as in the handling of Martin Luther King’s womanizing.

It’s also longwinded as it checks off 1964 talking points — MLK’s infidelity, FBI spying, three young men killed in Mississippi, Democratic National Convention gamesmanship and more. But when it’s at its best, “All the Way” shows the wide division between parties and players in D.C. then — and now.

Brandon J. Dirden perfectly captures the cadence and gritty resolve of King, and the supporting actors, many in more than one role, also deliver. Standouts are Michael McKean, who wears headphones and a scowl as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover; Robert Petkoff as the put-upon Hubert H. Humphrey, who’s used with casual disregard by LBJ; and stage veteran John McMartin in a riveting turn as Dixiecrat Sen. Richard Russell, whom LBJ calls uncle but eventually outslicks.

These characters are side notes to LBJ. Fans who come to see the man who played meth-making Walter White will love his myth making as the President.

Even when “All the Way” comes up short, Cranston consistently gives a contact high.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Neil Simon Theatre

(3/6/2014 - 6/29/2014)
Substitute Stage Manager: Jeff Brancato.

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