ROBERT SCHENKKAN

PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT & SCREENWRITER

News

Dick Wolf Eyes Streamers, Premium Cable With Las Vegas Period Drama

Dick Wolf is betting on Las Vegas.

The mega-producer's Wolf Films and Universal Television are developing a drama series about the rise of Sin City called American Babylon. The potential series is being readied for pitches to premium cable outlets and streaming platforms.

The project comes from creator Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan and Bruce McKenna — both veterans of HBO's The Pacific — who will executive produce with Wolf and Tom Thayer, Wolf's producing partner on unscripted series including Cold Justice and Criminal Confessions. It will tell the story of Las Vegas' rise through the viewpoints of three families: young mobster Sammy Wise and his iron-willed wife, Esther; ambitious Black businessman Jefferson Delandro, his wife, Edda May, and their daughter, Bella, who fight the structural racism of the "Mississippi of the West"; and aspiring reporter Michael Arcona, who's committed to finding the truth no matter the cost. To read more, click here.

Dick Wolf Teams With Tom Thayer, Robert Schenkkan & Bruce C. McKenna For ‘American Babylon’ Premium Drama Series

In his first foray into the premium TV series marketplace, uber producer Dick Wolf is prepping American Babylon, a period drama chronicling the epic story of the creation of Las Vegas – the American Dream written in blood and neon. He has partnered on the project with long-time collaborator Tom Thayer, Pulitzer Prize winner and The Pacific writer Robert Schenkkan and The Pacific creator Bruce C. McKenna.

The marquee pitch, from Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television, will be taken out to premium cable networks and streamers later this month. Created by Schenkkan and written by him and McKenna, American Babylon  is inspired by “The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America“ by Sally Denton & Roger Morris, to which Universal Television has acquired the rights. To read more, click here.

BUILDING THE WALL By Pulitzer Prize & Tony Winner Robert Schenkkan to Debut in NYC

After sold out runs in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Spain (where it won the Audience Award at the Miteu International Theater Festival), Teatro Espressivo's critically acclaimed production of BUILDING THE WALL by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All the Way, Hacksaw Ridge) arrives in the US. Performances begin February 27 at Teatro LATEA @ The Clemente in Lower Manhattan. Presented in Spanish with English subtitles, this translation by Gerardo Bolaños G. is directed by Natalia Mariño, winner of Costa Rica's prestigious Premio Nacional a Mejor Dirección de Teatro. To read more, click here.

STAGE REVIEW: ‘The Great Society’ is powerful take on LBJ’s presidency

Playwright Robert Schenkkan has returned to his epic story of President Lyndon B. Johnson with “The Great Society,” a sequel to his play “All the Way” which garnered him a Tony Award for Best Play and Best Actor for Bryan Cranston. “The Great Society” is running at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in New York and is directed by Bill Rauch. Schenkkan’s play is a cold, hard look at the price of compromise and how increased paranoia can turn a person ineffective. To read more, click here.

ATCA Critics Join Award Winners At NYC Conference

What will two Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwrights have to say to each other in a room full of critics about creating drama based on real-life characters and events? A conversation among Robert Schenkkan ("All the Way," "The Great Society," "The Kentucky Cycle"), Doug Wright ("I Am My Own Wife," "Quills," Grey Gardens") and director Bill Rauch will be featured the first morning of a three-day New York City conference of the American Theatre Critics Association that begins Friday. To read more, click here.

Hard talk: Broadway gets tough on America in crisis

It used to be argued that British drama is driven by a fascination with public affairs and its American counterpart by a preoccupation with private lives. On the evidence of a week’s intensive theatregoing in New York, I would suggest that hoary generalisation has been blown to smithereens. At a time of potential impeachment, political polarisation and profound uncertainty, American theatre seems to be heavily engaged with the wider world. To read more, click here.

The Great Society

Given the trauma of the current American presidency, it’s a welcome distraction to focus on another one.   Indeed, it’s therapeutic to be reminded that things were pretty precarious in other times, too. The Great Society, part two of Robert Schenkkan’s dramatic account of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s reign, covers the turbulent years from 1965-1968 (All The Way, part one, premiered in 2014). This fact-packed, fast-paced drama plays like a historical pageant, covering the political events of that momentous era. Schenkkan focuses on LBJ the progressive, pushing his legislation called “The Great Society” through Congress with the determination of a charging bull (an image LBJ refers to, early in the play).   His platform included civil rights, voting rights, Medicare/Medicaid, immigration and education reform, and a “War on Poverty” – signature programs that proved to be the landmark of his presidency. But always in the background – ever advancing – were other forces in play. The escalating Viet Nam war and growing racial violence soon eclipsed his tremendous legislative achievements, culminating in his ultimate decision not to run again in 1968. That moment plays like the denouement in a Shakespearean tragedy. To read more, click here.

Watch the Cast of Broadway’s The Great Society Sum Up the Play in a Political Slogan

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson ran to keep his Presidency in 1965, he ran on the campaign of “The Great Society,” a set of domestic programs intended to reshape life in the United States mainly by combating poverty and racial injustice. It was the summary of his agenda. The play that finds its name in the campaign promise officially opened October 1 at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, starring Succession’s Brian Cox as LBJ.Playbill asked the cast of The Great Society: If Robert Schenkkan’s play were to have a summarizing slogan, what would it be? To see the video, click here.

Richard Thomas Is a Happy Warrior in THE GREAT SOCIETY

Years before the first Christmas on Walton's Mountain, Richard Thomas was a 17-year-old taking in the shock and awe served up by the year 1968: the assassinations of MLK and RFK, the civil rights movement, the escalation of the Vietnam War. These days, he's taking it all in again, as Vice President Hubert Horatio Humphrey in The Great Society by Robert Schenkkan, who continues his Broadway exploration of Lyndon Johnson's turbulent presidency that began in the Tony Award-winning ALL THE WAY. To read more, click here.

The Glorious Corner

I’ve been a fan of Brian Cox for years. His role as Logan Roy on HBO’s Succession has been like a master class with each installment. It’s actually given me tremendous pleasure to see the show embraced as it has. Its second-season finale two weeks back still has people talking. My colleague Roger Freidman wrote a fantastic review of Cox’s playThe Great Society at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and we caught it Saturday night. Cox is simply brilliant and yes, at times, channels his Logan Roy character on Succession. It’s written by Robert Shenkkan, who last year did the brilliant LBJ-play All The Way with Bryan Cranston. Cox plays LBJ on this as well, but with a startling cast: from Richard Thomas to Marc Kudish and the awesome David Garrison. Largely at issue in Great Society is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, initiated by Kennedy just before he was assassinated, and the hell that Johnson put himself through to get it sanctioned in both substance and spirit by African-American leaders and then passed through a fractious Congress. To read more, click here.

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