Theater News

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty Brought to Life Onstage in Alexander Harrington’s The Great Society

Alexander Harrington, son of famous political author Michael Harrington, adapts LBJ’s War on Poverty at the Clurman Theatre.

Production artwork, courtesy of York Shakespeare Company.
Production artwork, courtesy of York Shakespeare Company.

Producer Albert Podell and the York Shakespeare Company have announced their world premiere production of Alexander Harrington’s The Great Society. Seth Duerr will direct the four-week limited engagement at the Clurman Theatre. Performances are set to begin August 3 in advance of an August 8 opening, and will run through August 24.

Playwright Alexander Harrington is the son of Michael Harrington, author of The Other America: Poverty in the United States, which profoundly impacted President Kennedy’s administration and helped to spark President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The Great Society continues this political legacy, following President Johnson after being unexpectedly thrust into power as he fights to end legal segregation and wage war on poverty. Harrington’s interest in President Johnson was inspired by his father’s comment “Jack Kennedy was a dilettante when it came to poverty; Lyndon Johnson was serious about doing something for the poor of this country.”

The Great Society stars Mitch Tebo (The Revenger’s Tragedy) as Lyndon Johnson; Elena McGhee (Blue Bloods) as Lady Bird Johnson; Yaakov Sullivan as Richard Russell; James Lurie (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as J. William Fulbright; Curtis Wiley (Broadway National Tour: The Lion King) as Martin Luther King, Jr.; Charles Gray (Broadway: The Color Purple) as Bayard Rustin; Reed Armstrong (Broadway: Miss Saigon) as Robert McNamara; Charles F. Wagner IV (Regional: The Tempest) as Hubert Humphrey and Seymore Trammell; Robert Ierardi (West End: West Side Story) as Everett Dirksen and Nicholas Katzenbach; Jeff Burchfield as Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, and Mac Brydon (Lipstick Jungle) as Jack Valenti, as well as Wayne Morse.

The creative team features scenic design by Michael Minahan, costume design by Sean Sullivan, lighting design by Dana Sterling, props design by Preesa Adeline Bullington, and music/sound design by John D. Ivy.

For tickets and more information, click here.

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The Great Society

Closed: August 24, 2013