American Repertory Theater’s “All the Way” is going all the way to Broadway.
Bryan Cranston stars as Lyndon Baines Johnson in the drama, which is enjoying a sold-out run through Saturday. The play, by Robert Schenkkan and directed by Bill Rauch, follows LBJ’s presidency in the year between President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination and Johnson’s 1964 election.
Cranston, an Emmy winner best known as Walter White in AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” has been singled out for praise by critics. “Cranston delivers Johnson’s outsize presence, his cackling humor and sudden rages, his canny maneuvering, and his self-pity,” wrote Joel Brown in the Globe. In The New York Times, Charles Isherwood cited Cranston’s “winning star turn,” saying “he cuts a vigorous, imposing figure as L.B.J., employing a drawl as wide as the Rio Grande.”
Speaking by phone Saturday, Rauch confirmed that he will direct the Broadway production this season, and that Cranston would star. As for the rest of the actors, who currently include Michael McKean as J. Edgar Hoover and Rauch’s longtime partner, Christopher Liam Moore, in a poignant turn as LBJ aide Walter Jenkins, Rauch said, “We hope it will be as much of the same cast as possible.”
Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Louise Gund will produce the Broadway production, Rauch stated.
“We’re just so happy,” added Rauch, a Harvard graduate who is artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ever since the play’s premiere at the festival last year, he said, “our dearest hope was that it would get out into the world and have as much exposure as possible.”
Schenkkan, who broke the news with a late-night post on Twitter, won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for “The Kentucky Cycle,” which debuted on Broadway in 1993.
“It feels great,” Schenkkan said by phone Saturday, adding that he already had some revisions in mind for “All the Way” before it opens in New York. “Sharpening the theme, accelerating the pace, bringing us home in an even more satisfying way,” he explained.
This is just the latest in a string of ART productions that have moved on to Broadway in recent years. A revival of Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie,” starring Cherry Jones, Zachary Quinto, and Celia Keenan-Bolger and directed by John Tiffany, ran Feb. 2 through March 17 at the ART, and it’s now a hit on Broadway. Earlier, Boston-area audiences saw ART artistic director Diane Paulus’s revivals of the musicals “Pippin” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” at the Cambridge theater before they went on to win Tony Awards in New York. A workshop production of “Once” directed by Tiffany at the ART also preceded the musical’s Tony-
winning Broadway run.