Robert Schenkkan’s play The Great Society, a companion piece to his hit from a few seasons back All The Way, is making its way to Broadway. The Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright continues his celebration of the legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. The Great Society depicts the tumultuous times that led to the conclusion of the Johnson presidency in 1968.
The Great Society will be directed by Bill Rauch (All The Way) who reunites with playwright Schenkkan after directing the premiere of The Great Society at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2014 and Seattle Rep in 2015. The design team includes David Korins (sets), Linda Cho (costumes), David Weiner (lights), Paul James Prendergast (composer/sound) and Victoria Sagady (projections). Performances for the new play will begin Friday, September 6, 2019 at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theater where it will stay for a 12-week limited engagement.
The epic scope and size of The Great Society promises to be one of its highlights with a cast portraying over fifty characters (many of them icons of history) in two-dozen locations. The cast will include Brian Cox as LBJ, Marc Kudisch as Richard J. Daley, Grantham Coleman as Martin Luther King Jr., and Richard Thomas as Hubert Humphrey. The actors playing the roles of Richard Nixon, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Coretta Scott King, Lady Bird Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Governor George Wallace and Robert McNamara among many others, will be announced soon.
“Capturing Johnson’s passionate and aggressive attempts to build a great society for all, The Great Society follows his epic triumph in a landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later. It was an era that would define history forever: the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the destruction of Vietnam, and the creation of some of the greatest social programs America has ever known—and one man was at the center of it all: LBJ.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.