The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will produce the world premiere of All the Way, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan and directed by Bill Rauch, OSF artistic director. The production is the fourth commission fromAmerican Revolutions: the United States History Cycle to premiere at OSF and the second this season. All the Way is the third Robert Schenkkan play produced at OSF (Handler, 2002; By the Waters of Babylon, 2005).
“Robert’s participation in American Revolutions was a foregone conclusion,” Rauch said. “Robert has devoted his playwriting career to uncovering truths in American history, and he tells the story of how we aspire— and often fail—to live up to our ideals as a nation.”
In describing the play, Schenkkan said, “This play, like so many of the History Plays of Shakespeare is a meditation on Power. It begins in November 1963 with LBJ’s sudden ascension to the Presidency following Kennedy’s assassination and ends twelve months later with LBJ’s historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater. I see this period as a hinge point in American politics. Everything changes. And the modern political landscape is wrenchingly born.” (Click here to watch the video with Robert Schenkkan.)
In 1964, the year that LBJ is looking toward an election, he has also dedicated himself to the passage of the Civil Rights legislation that has languished in Congress, stirring the hopes, passions and fears of a country headed toward monumental change.
OSF is especially pleased that this production will play in repertory with another American Revolutions commission, Party People. This highly theatrical production uses music, poetry and dance to tell stories of the work and politics of the Black Panthers and Young Lords, parties that emerged in the mid to late-1960s.
The creative team members for All the Way are scenic designer Christopher Acebo, costume designer Deborah M. Dryden, lighting designer Mark McCullough, projections designer Shawn Sagady and original music and sound designer Paul James Prendergast. Tom Bryant is dramaturg and Rebecca Clark Carey is voice and text director. Emily Sophia Knapp is associate director.
The cast of 17 will take on 61 named/speaking roles and an additional 40 non-speaking roles. Jack Willis will play President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Kenajuan Bentley will play Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Other cast members include: Richard Elmore as J. Edgar Hoover, Mark Murphey as Robert McNamara, Jonathan Haugen as Gov. George Wallace, Peter Frechette as Sen. Hubert Humphrey, David Kelly as Sen. Everett Dirksen, Douglas Rowe as Sen. Richard Russell, Christopher Liam Moore as Walter Jenkins, Daniel T. Parker as Stanley Levison, Tyrone Wilson as Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Derrick Lee Weeden as Roy Wilkins, Kevin Kenerly as Bob Moses, Wayne T. Carr as Stokely Carmichael, Terri McMahon as Lady Bird Johnson, Erica Sullivan as Lurleen Wallace, and Gina Daniels as Coretta Scott King.