All The Way is a 2012 play penned by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Schenkkan. Set circa 1963, the play follows the first year of the ‘accidental president,’ as he takes on the office and the country. Joined on stage by some of the most iconic personalities of our time, including Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Edgar Hoover, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Jenkins and Roy Wilkins, this drama follows the president as he strives to pass the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, and the obstacles he has to face. Lyndon B. Johnson accidentally stumbled onto presidency when the country’s beloved John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. As the 36th President of the United States, Johnson, often referred to as LBJ, was a vital player in the implementation of three major civil rights bills. Amidst the hysteria and mass depression that Kennedy’s assassination created, LBJ took office with one goal in mind; to keep the country together.
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All the Way
Historicized as the peak of liberalism in America, Johnson and his time in the Office have garnered both fame and infamy. He was praised for passing some of the most definitive civil rights bills that have shaped the face of modern liberalism, and simultaneously criticized for his role in propagating America’s involvement in Vietnam. Some commend him on his liberal domestic policies, while others argue against his actions. However, irrespective of everything, there is no doubt that LBJ had a particularly illustrious career in the White House. Five decades after the iconic oath taking ceremony on board the Air Force One, director Bill Rauch and writer Robert Schenkkan bring to stage the tale of one of the most prominent presidents in the history of the United States of America.
In addition to the critically acclaimed creative team, the cast is joined by Bryan Cranston, famous for Breaking Bad, and Michael Mckean famous for Laverne & Shirley. The venue has a circular stage with seats around, giving it a Greek Theatron touch. As the president tries to legitimize his position, pass one of the most pivotal civil rights bills and run for elections, the audience is transported back into a time when politics were still played with a certain charm and grace. We see Johnson’s ambition and watch him bully and threaten the workers to get his work done. At the same time, we see him question his actions, and feeling sorry for himself. A question of the morality of modern day politics, premised in the tale of perhaps one of the most able politicians of American history, we become witness to the corridors of power and the underhand political dealings which shape our future. After all, as LBJ puts in the play, “It’s not personal, it’s just politics.”
Coming to Broadway for a limited time in summer 2014, this political drama is a must-see for theatre, history and political enthusiasts. A poignant tale of the battle between the preservation of personal principles versus the necessity of certain actions, All The Way immortalizes on stage, one the most riveting years of the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Inspiring a country riddled with shock to rise out of its gloom, LBJ gave America the confidence it needed to get back on its feet. Persevering, persistent, and determined, LBJ is brought back to life in a play that recreates his first year as the ultimate accidental president. A must-watch for all, All The Way tickets are now available for purchase.