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Play Illuminates Rocky Year In Johnson Presidency

Bill Rauch graduated from Harvard University in 1984 and co-founded the Cornerstone Theater Company, which made a point of bringing theater to underserved places.

He’s since moved on to become artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Now, he returns to Cambridge, Mass. to direct “All the Way” at the American Repertory Theater.

The play dramatizes a pivotal year in the life of Lyndon Johnson, who is played by “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston.

The play begins with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and ends as Johnson is re-elected to the presidency in 1964. It focuses on the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the chaotic Democratic National Convention.

“We wanted to address the anxieties, the hopes, the dreams of our age by dramatizing moments of change in our own country’s past,” Rauch told Here & Now.

The play is part of a 37-play cycle commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Guest

  • Bill Rauch, director of “All The Way” at the American Repertory Theater. He’s artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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Bryan Cranston in "All The Way." (American Repertory Theater)
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Bryan Cranston in "All The Way." (American Repertory Theater)
A scene from "All The Way," at the American Repertory Theater. (Evgenia Eliseeva/American Repertory Theater)
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A scene from "All The Way," at the American Repertory Theater. (Evgenia Eliseeva/American Repertory Theater)
President Lyndon Johnson (left), Bryan Cranston playing Lyndon Johnson in "All the Way" (center) and Bryan Johnson playing Walter White in "Breaking Bad" (right).
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President Lyndon Johnson (left), Bryan Cranston playing Lyndon Johnson in "All the Way" (center) and Bryan Johnson playing Walter White in "Breaking Bad" (right).