OSF to Present THE GREAT SOCIETY, Follow-Up to Robert Schenkkan's ALL THE WAY, 7/27
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) will open Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan's The Great Society at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, July 27 in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. The Great Society was commissioned by and co-produced with Seattle Repertory Theatre and developed through OSF's American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle and the Orchard Project.
The Great Society, opening after the huge successes of All the Way, continues the vivid dramatization of President Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency. In the years from 1965 to 1968, LBJ struggles to fight a "war on poverty" even as his 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.
"The entire OSF company of artists, artisans and administrators is eager to share Part 2 in the LBJ cycle with our audiences beginning this summer," OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch said. "The events of LBJ's "legitimate term" are hugely dramatic, and we have a brilliant creative team and group of actors to interpret Robert Schenkkan's important new American play. We are so grateful to our colleagues at Seattle Rep for commissioning The Great Society and for co-producing this world premiere with us, and we look forward to sharing both LBJ plays with Seattle audiences this fall."
The cast will feature many of the same actors who created the roles in OSF's 2012 world premiere production of All the Way. Jack Willis returns to play LBJ, and Kenajuan Bentley reprises his role as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also returning are Peter Frechette as Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Richard Elmore as J. Edgar Hoover, Wayne T. Carr as Stokely Carmichael and John Lewis, Jonathan Haugen as Gov. George Wallace and Richard Nixon, Kevin Kenerly as Bob Moses and Hosea Willams, Terri McMahon as Lady Bird Johnson, Mark Murphey as Robert McNamara and Wilbur Mills, and Tyrone Wilson as Adam Clayton Powell and Ralph Abernathy. Joining the cast are Danforth Comins as Sen. Bobby Kennedy, Michael J. Hume as Everett Dirksen and "Deke" DeLoach, Rachael Warren as Muriel Humphrey and Pat Nixon, Tobie Windham as James Bevel and Jimmie Lee Jackson, and Rex Young as Adam Walinsky and General William Westmoreland.
Mr. Rauch is joined by members of the original 2012 OSF design team for All the Way: OSF Associate Artistic Director Christopher Acebo (set design), Deborah M. Dryden (costume design), Paul James Prendergast (composition and sound design), Shawn Sagady (video projections), Tom Bryant (dramaturg) Rebecca Clark Carey (voice & text director), U. Jonathan Toppo (fight director) and D. Christian Bolender (stage manager). Joining the creative team is David Weiner (lighting designer).
Lead Sponsors for The Great Society are Peter and Helen Bing. Production Sponsors are Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards and Charlotte Lin and Robert P. Porter. Production Partners are The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Michael R. Jacobson and Trine J. Sorensen, Kevin and Suzanne Kahn, and The Kinsman Foundation.
Following the close of The Great Society on November 1, the production will tour to Seattle Repertory Theatre, where both All the Way and The Great Society will perform in repertory from November 2014 through January 2015. Bill Rauch will direct.
All the Way, after finishing its highly successful 2012 run at OSF with Jack Willis originating the role of LBJ, moved to American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T) in 2013, where Bryan Cranston took on the role of LBJ. Cranston continued as LBJ when the play ran on Broadway from February through June 2014. All the Way was named Best Play at the 68th Annual Tony Awards, while Bryan Cranston won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. The New York run of All the Way broke box office records and set a new milestone in Broadway history, earning more weekly ticket income than any other non-musical play.