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Broadway producer praises Cranston as LBJ

B’way producer praises Cranston as LBJ

Bryan Cranston will surprise Broadway audiences when he portrays President Lyndon B. Johnson after being so closely associated with his ‘‘Breaking Bad’’ anti-hero, says the producer who is luring the actor to a New York stage. ‘‘It’s truly a transformative performance, I think. I don’t use that word lightly,’’ says Jeffrey Richards, who is producing the Cranston-led ‘‘All the Way,’’ which just concluded its run at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. ‘‘It’s especially thrilling to see an actor embody a role the way that he does.’’ Cranston plays LBJ during his first year in office following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and explores both his fight for re-election and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It’s by writer Robert Schenkkan, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his epic ‘‘The Kentucky Cycle.’’ The new play made its debut at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and then jumped to ART, which has produced a number of shows that eventually won Tony Awards, including ‘‘Once,’’ ‘‘The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,’’ and ‘‘Pippin.’’ Richards, who has produced the current Broadway hit revival of ‘‘The Glass Menagerie’’ and the upcoming ‘‘The Bridges of Madison County,’’ said Tuesday he’s not ready to say when the play will open on Broadway but Cranston will definitely be front and center when it does. ‘‘He is unassuming. He is funny. He is charming,’’ said Richards. ‘‘He’s a wonderful team player. And he’s a natural on the stage,’’ he said. ‘‘I think people are going to be hopefully as impressed as I am with the portrayal.’’ Cranston, who showed his comedic side in TV’s ‘‘Malcolm in the Middle,’’ is now best known as the chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin Walter White in ‘‘Breaking Bad,’’ who built a fortune over the bodies of his enemies.‘‘Some people say it’s perfect casting for Lyndon Baines Johnson,’’ said Richards with a laugh. (AP)

Tussauds honors Betty White with statue

Actress and animal lover Betty White is joining the collection in wax at the Madame Tussauds museum in Washington. The museum says a new wax figure of the 91-year-old White will be unveiled Wednesday. Washington Humane Society CEO Lisa LaFontaine will unveil White’s figure to pay homage to the ‘‘Hot in Cleveland’’ star’s passion for animals. (AP)

Home detention for singer Hill after tour

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Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill is being allowed to participate in a concert tour before completing her sentence in a tax case, her lawyer said Tuesday. Attorney Nathan Hochman said Hill was permitted to work during the last six weeks of this year before finishing the balance of her three-month home detention. Hill pleaded guilty last year to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. (AP)

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