Breaking Bad to LBJ: New Role

Photograph by Ben Leuner/AMC via Bloomberg

Bryan Cranston, left, and Aaron Paul perform in a scene from “Breaking Bad” at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released to the press on July 11, 2011.

“Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston is trading drug peddling for power grabbing.

He plays Lyndon Johnson in the historical play “All the Way” at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge.

The play, which debuted at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012, is sold out through its October run. Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Robert Schenk, it  focuses on LBJ’s Shakespearean ambition and time in the White House following the Kennedy assassination.

Some of the other characters in the play read like a Washington who’s who:

Katharine Graham, Hubert Humphrey, Strom Thurmond, Robert McNamara, George Wallace, Joseph Alsop, Mike Mansfield, J. Edgar Hoover, Robert Byrd, Everett Dirksen, and Martin Luther King Jr., just to name a few.

“All the Way” begins with Johnson assuming the presidency after John F. Kennedy’s death and focuses most of its attention on LBJ’s feverish manuevering to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


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