The Great Society is playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theater located at 150 West 65th Street. It runs two hours forty-five minutes with one intermission. The play closes on November 30, 2019.
David Korins is the scenic designer. He was nominated for three Tony Awards for Beetlejuice (2019), War Paint (2017) and Hamilton (2016).
Linda Cho is the costume designer. She won a Tony Award in 2014 for A Gentlemen’s Guide for Love & Murder and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2017 for Anastasia.
Richard Thomas was nominated for a Tony Award for The Little Foxes (2017).
March Kudisch was nominated for three Tony Awards for 9 x 5 (2009), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2005) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002).
Bryce Pinkham won a Tony Award in 2014 for a Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Marriage.
Frank Wood won a Tony Award in 1999 for Side Man.
David Garrison was nominated for a Tony Award in 1980 for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.
The place is Washington, D. C., Selma, Los Angles and Chicago, 1965-1968.
Lyndon B. Johnson became President in 1963 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The story follows the events that happened during the three years he was in office.
President Johnson (Brian Cox) meets with his Vice President Hubert Humphrey (Richard Thomas). He gives him some advice on some matters.
Re. Martin Luther King (Grantham Coleman) meets him on several occasions on African Americans not having the right to vote in the south and equal rights among some of the things they discussed. We see what happens to them at the hands of the white police force. There are riots in the south and north.
Another issue is establishing Medicare.
Robert F. Kennedy (Bryce Pinkham) is not being very cooperative.
Among the people we meet Dr. James Z. Appel (Marc Kudisch), Senator Everett Dirksen (Frank Wood), J. Edgar Hoover (Gordon Clapp), General William Westmoreland (Brian Dykstra), Richard Nixon (David Garrison) Rev. Ralph Abernathy (Ty Jones), Robert McNamara (Matthew Rauch), Bob Moses (Tramell Tillman), Lady Bird (Barbara Garrick) and Coretta Scott King (Nikkole Salter).
They all interact with him on his daily duties as President.
The focus is more on the events in Selma and Chicago for equal rights. Among them the right to vote. The other topic is the Vietnam war. I’m not going into detail. Either you know them or you will know by the end of the play.
As his term is ending, he decides not to run for re-election. Too many outside forces against him.
Two laws passed that are a living legacy of LBJ are The Civil Rights Act oh 1964 “Outlaws racial discrimination based on race, color, sex, religious and nationally” and Voting Rights Act 1965 “A bill which makes it illegal to restrict voting rights on any election based on race”.
The play is an interesting piece of history. Three prominent people were killed President Kennedy, Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy.
The whole cast was outstanding. There were eleven who did several roles. They shined.
The set done by David Korins is cleaver. Some of the furniture goes under the stage, the background wall is had different pictures depending on where the scene is. Things like
the Vietnam war, it tells the year, how many have died and how many are injured.
If you love history this is the play for you. The women next to me left after intermission because she lived thru it didn’t wan to go thru it again.
In the lobby there is four voting booths where you can vote which candidate in the 2020 Presidential Primary you would vote for.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows,