Theater News

All the Way Sequel The Great Society to Premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Robert Schenkkan will debut part two of his LBJ cycle.

Tony Award winner Bryan Cranston as LBJ in the Broadway production of Robert Schenkkan's All the Way.
(© Evgenia Eliseeva)

Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan will open The Great Society, the sequel to his 2014 Tony-winning play All the Way, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The work was commissioned by OSF, coproduced with Seattle Repertory Theatre, and developed through OSF's American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle and the Orchard Project.

The Great Society will pick up the story of Lyndon Baines Johnson's presidency from 1965-68 as he struggles to fight a "war on poverty" while the military conflict in Vietnam spins out of control.

"The entire OSF company of artists, artisans and administrators is eager to share Part 2 in the LBJ cycle with our audiences beginning this summer," OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch said. "The events of LBJ's 'legitimate term' are hugely dramatic, and we have a brilliant creative team and group of actors to interpret Robert Schenkkan's important new American play."

The cast will feature a number of the same actors who originated the roles in OSF's 2012 world premiere of All the Way, including Jack Willis who returns to the lead role of LBJ, Kenajuan Bentley as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Peter Frechette as Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Richard Elmore as J. Edgar Hoover, Wayne T. Carr as Stokely Carmichael and John Lewis, Jonathan Haugen as Gov. George Wallace and Richard Nixon, Kevin Kenerly as Bob Moses and Hosea Willams, Terri McMahon as Lady Bird Johnson, Mark Murphey as Robert McNamara and Wilbur Mills, and Tyrone Wilson as Adam Clayton Powell and Ralph Abernathy. Joining the cast are Danforth Comins as Sen. Bobby Kennedy, Michael J. Hume as Everett Dirksen and "Deke" DeLoach, Rachael Warren as Muriel Humphrey and Pat Nixon, Tobie Windham as James Bevel and Jimmie Lee Jackson, and Rex Young as Adam Walinsky and General William Westmoreland.

Performances will run from July 27-November 1 at OSF, followed by a run at Seattle Repertory Theatre, where both All the Way and The Great Society will be performed in repertory from November 2014-January 2015. Bill Rauch, who directed the Broadway production of All the Way, will helm the production.

After premiering at OSF, All the Way transferred to the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Bryan Cranston took over for Jack Willis in the leading role of LBJ. The production opened at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre on March 6, where it played its final performance on June 29 after earning two Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Lead Actor (Cranston) and Best Play.