Friday, March 14, 2014

All The Way @ The Neil Simon Theater

Bryan Cranston delivers a polished performance of presidential politics in Robert Schednkkan’s All the Way!
BRYAN CRANSTON, the Golden Globe® and three-time Emmy Award®-winning star of "Breaking Bad," makes his Broadway debut in an electrifying portrayal of one of the most controversial, ambitious and exciting presidents of the 20th century: PRESIDENT LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON.
This STRICTLY LIMITED ENGAGEMENT of the gripping and suspenseful new play from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan features a company of 20 distinguished stage actors playing some of history's most dynamic figures: J. Edgar Hoover; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Governor George Wallace; Senator Hubert Humphrey; Secretary of Defense Robert J. McNamara and LBJ himself.
1964: A pivotal year in American history—a landmark civil rights bill was passed, America began its involvement in Vietnam...and one man sat at the center of it all, determined to lift the country out of the ashes and rebuild it into The Great Society—by any means necessary. Hero. Bully. President. He played whatever part it took to win the day. It's not personal, it's just politics.
Don't miss Bryan Cranston in the theatrical role of a lifetime, in the play about our lifetime. STRICTLY LIMITED ENGAGEMENT now playing at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Cranston makes his Broadway debut look like a twenty time Tony Award winner performance. He displays all of the arrogance, charm, charisma, and fiery passion of a politician with ease. The rest of the twenty four cast members also give exceptional performance, most of them playing multiple roles.
The visuals of the play may create a struggle for some audience members. There are multiple scenes in various settings and many shift quickly or blend together, however there is only one set piece that remains on stage for the majority of the play. The scene locations are typically indicated by a screen projection, but not consistently. Some of the projections are pictures of the area the scene is taking place in while others state in written form the location and time period.  Some of the elderly patrons (as well as some younger ones) were having difficulty following along.
History teachers, drama teachers as well as history buffs and actors will love this piece. Not only does the story cover vital turning points in American history with a slew of historical figures, but there is also an in depth study guide available on the show’s website ( This study guide has articles, activities, and other teaching tools to help teach students about history around 1964 and also how history can be incorporated into drama.
Though this is a historical piece and you may gain some knowledge of American history, watching this show does not feel like a three hour history lesson. It is faced paced and packed with real emotions. While the storyline circles some deep, haunting, historical topics, it is presented with a bushel of laughter and stellar performances.

Review By: Staci Morin

Photos By: Evgenia Eliseeva

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