What Trump-Era Democrats Can Learn From LBJ

Last week, Robert Schenkkan’s new play, The Great Society, opened at the Arena Stage in Washington. This riveting sequel to the Tony-award winning All the Way,about the Lyndon Johnson presidency, is a haunting piece of theater for liberals to watch in February of 2018, when President Trump and the Republican Congress have been swinging a political wrecking ball at Barack Obama’s legacy.

The two plays capture an important lesson about presidential history: that it is possible for the country’s top leader to be an incredibly effective policymaker yet fail politically at building a governing coalition that outlasts them. The costs of this kind of political failure are severe because it leaves everything a president built open to attack. To read more, click here.

Schenkkan’s Great Society: President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s tumultuous term

If the shade of Lyndon Johnson permitted himself a small smile last night, who could blame him? The irony of having the Washington opening of the second of Robert Schenkkan’s two-play cycle about our 36th President — who presided over the enactment of Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Medicare, Medicaid, the end to the Poll Tax, and a dozen other significant changes in the way we take care of each other — on the eve of the second government shutdown in a month was palpable, and inescapable. The America of Lyndon Johnson’s time transformed itself. The America of our time struggles to pass a simple budget. To read more, click here.

“Great Society” A Larger Than Life History Lesson on Alley Theatre Stage

The Houston Alley Theatre set for “Great Society” is a marvel, a backdrop that, by turns, takes on the grandeur of the White House Oval Office, Civil Rights march infrastructure, and ever-increasing tallies of Vietnam dead. Frequently, it’s also the setting for the folksy stories Lyndon Baines Johnson was famous for, the kind of down-home truth telling that drew people to him before he circled in for whatever it was he was after. And he was always after something. To read more, click here.

The Great Society Comes to Houston's Alley Theatre

The Great Society has begun performances at the Alley Theatre.

Robert Schenkkan's follow-up to All the Way continues the story of President Lyndon B. Johnson's legacy as he champions the most ambitious legislative works in his vision for a Great Society even while the war in Vietnam spins out of control. Besieged by political opponents, Johnson marshals all his political wiles to try to pass some of the most important social programs in U.S. history while the country descends into chaos over the war and backlash against civil rights. To read more, click here.

Robert Schenkkan Goes All the Way With LBJ Sequel The Great Society

In Robert Schenkkan's Tony-winning drama All the Way, Lyndon Banes Johnson rose to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After a hard-fought election campaign that takes place over the course of the three-act work, the curtain comes down on Johnson's legitimate, landslide victory in 1964.

But that was just the beginning, and Schenkkan admits he would have been "very disappointed" if he didn't get explore what happened next. The Great Society, which premiered in 2014 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is named after Johnson's ambitious plan to fight the war on poverty. But there was another war on hand, one taking place overseas, and it was spinning rapidly out of control. To read more, click here.


Political fatigue may be setting in around the country as many tire of polarized conversations that seem to go nowhere but down. Social media allows people to be more ‘involved’ in politics than ever before, but without true access to the long-term, behind-the-scenes political processes most just get to argue about the remote tips of the icebergs, the end results that are simplified in message for public platforms. The latest play presented by Grand Rapids Civic Theatre reminds us that much is left unseen and swirling under the surface, the complicated means to get to the end results. Maybe this is what we need to break our fatigue and get us back talking to each other, that understanding better the complicated and often less than righteous space in the means will help us, together, produce more positive ends. In any event, check your fatigue at the door when you go see All the Way, the Tony Award Winning play by Robert Schenkkan, in its premiere community theatre production at GRCT. To read more, click here.

No Limits: 'All The Way' reminds us not to take our rights for granted

When we think of Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States, we tend to think of the Vietnam War. Not many know that just days after LBJ stepped in as president following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he approached Congress with his first priority as president: the Civil Rights Act of 1965. The act was originally Kennedy’s work and Johnson felt it important to pass it as soon as he could. Civic Theatre’s All The Way captures this, dishing out a history lesson laced with humor. Jon March, who plays LBJ in the play written by Robert Schenkkan, said it’s important for voters to understand this point of time in history. To read more, click here.

The Best of LA Theater 2017 - Backstage

Playwright Robert Schenkkan wasted no time letting us know what he thought of the Trump administration.  Barely three months after inauguration, he already had a protest play on the boards at the Fountain Theatre, Building the Wall. A simple, two person interrogation room play, it was built around Bo Foxworth’s brave and frightening performance of a functionary who embraced with bureaucratic efficiency the most extreme xenophobic rhetoric. To read more, click here.

Casting Complete for Arena Stage’s The Great Society, Second Part of Robert Schenkkan’s LBJ Drama

Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society, the second part of the playwright's drama about President Lyndon Baines Johnson, will make its Washington, D.C., debut February 2, 2018, at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, following the theatre’s critically acclaimed 2016 run of Schenkkan’s All the Way. Kyle Donnelly will also direct The Great Society, which chronicles LBJ’s second term as he seeks to maintain his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and complete a raft of ambitious social policy projects. Performances continue through March 11 on the Fichandler Stage. To read more, click here.

Arena Stage Casts Veterans of All the Way to Lead The Great Society

Arena Stage has announced complete casting for its D.C. premiere of The Great Society, the second half of Robert Schenkkan's epic drama about President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Running from February 2-March 11, 2018, the production comes on the heels of Arena Stage's 2016 run of All the Way, Schenkkan's Tony-winning first installment. Kyle Donnelly directs. Jack Willis, who originated the role of LBJ in All the Way at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 and reprised his performance at Arena Stage in 2016, will return to the role again the lead the cast of The Great Society. To read more, click here.