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ALL THE WAY OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: March 6, 2014
Synopsis: Beginning with the Kennedy assassination, All the Way spans the first year of Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, from taking office and leveraging his power to pass Civil Rights legislation in Congress to his landslide re-election victory.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"“It’s not personal, Dick, it’s just politics,” Lyndon Johnson says to a good friend who has suddenly turned into a vanquished foe in the new play All the Way, by Robert Schenkkan. Johnson, played by Bryan Cranston in the mighty slab of history that opened at the Neil Simon Theater on Thursday night, infuses that glib phrase with palpable urgency and a whisper of tenderness. There’s no question that he really means what he’s saying."
"Bryan Cranston recently ended five seasons playing a good man surrounded by depraved criminals, drowning by inches in a cesspool of guilt, paranoia and homicidal rage. In other words, he was training to be President of the United States. As Lyndon B. Johnson, borne into the Oval Office on a wave of blood and hemmed in by enemies within and without his party, Cranston rules the boards with a vengeance, a latter-day Abe Lincoln who drops f-bombs and talks plenty about balls. The TV star’s galvanic turn and the layered, polyphonic production around him take the dried facts of history and make them walk, talk and kick ass to victory."
"The Actor Formerly Known as Walter White takes a scintillating turn in his first major post-Breaking Bad role, grappling with the infinite contradictions of America’s 36th President, Lyndon Baines Johnson. In a riveting Broadway debut, Bryan Cranston’s ferociously human character study elevates and invigorates All the Way, Robert Schenkkan’s dense political history lesson about the tumultuous year during which LBJ ascended from the VP spot in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and successfully ran for re-election after pushing through the controversial Civil Rights Act."
"It’s a safe bet crowds descending on the Neil Simon Theatre for All the Way aren’t there because of an abiding curiosity about Lyndon Baines Johnson. They’re coming to see the Broadway debut of Bryan Cranston, who until months ago was Walter White, teacher-turned-druglord on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Written by Robert Schenkkan, the playwright and sometimes-actor who won a Pulitzer for The Kentucky Cycle, the historical bio about the nation’s 36th president just opened after a sold-out run at the American Repertory Theater outside Boston."
"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."
"Whereas Bryan Cranston's Emmy-winning performance as Walter White in Breaking Bad felt internalized and psychologically intimate, he takes an oversized, huffing-and-puffing, accent-heavy approach to President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way, Robert Schenkkan's three-hour, ensemble-driven history pageant. Set during the tumultuous year following Kennedy's assassination, All the Way observes LBJ engaging in behind-the-scenes political maneuvering to get civil rights legislation passed and win the 1964 election despite alarming resistance from southern Democrats and African-American leaders."
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