“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston will portray former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson in a new play, “All the Way.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan wrote the play, which will begin performances on September 13 at the American Repertory Theater. The play recently was awarded the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, and was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s “American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle.”
Here’s how the play is 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.
Cranston has become best-known recently for his role in the AMC series “Breaking Bad,” for which he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series three consecutive times. His role as a high-school-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cooker is a far cry from his previously best-known role as the dad on “Malcolm in the Middle.”
And though he has no major theater credits, his acting chops have been more than proven by “Breaking Bad,” as well as in films including “Argo” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” It will be interesting to see how these transfer to the stage, particularly when playing a former president.
Schenkkan won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1992 play “The Kentucky Cycle.”
Other actors in “All the Way” include Brandon J. Dirden, Michael McKean, Reed Birney and Dakin Matthews. The creative team for the production will be announced at a later time.