All the Way with LBJ
What: All the Way, written by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. A chronicle of the 11-months of the Lyndon Johnson presidency from his swearing in after JFK’s assassination in 1963 to his winning the re-election in November 1964.
Where: The Alley Theatre, running until February 21.
Why: A modern abstract staging positions the players on a mostly blank stage surrounding by marble columns and the president’s desk. The script highlights the bullet points of LBJ’s civil rights legislation and the battles in Congress that ensued.
Historical characters include JBJ, his wife Lady Bird, Vice President Humphrey, Secretary of Defense McNamara, allies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, unlikely allies Senator Richard Russell and J. Edgar Hoover, and outright opponent Governor George Wallace. Incidents covered incorporate the murder of civil rights activists in Mississippi and Johnson’s top aide Walter Jenkins being busted in a YMCA bathroom on a morals charge one month before the election.
— Michael Bergeron