Bryan Cranston to Make Broadway Debut as LBJ in 'All the Way'

Bryan Cranston TCA - P 2013
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Bryan Cranston TCA - P 2013

The "Breaking Bad" star will reprise the role of the 36th U.S. president, which he is currently performing in Cambridge, Mass., when the play transfers to New York this winter.

NEW YORK -- Having said goodbye to Walter White, the antihero he played so indelibly for six seasons on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston will make his Broadway debut this winter playing Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle), the three-hour historical drama is currently nearing the end of its sold-out run at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.

Reviewing the play in The New York Times, Charles Isherwood praised Cranston's "winning star turn," adding that the actor "glitters with an almost salacious ruthlessness when he gets to do a little arm-twisting."

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Joel Brown of The Boston Globe wrote, "Cranston delivers Johnson's outsize presence, his cackling humor and sudden rages, his canny maneuvering and his self-pity."

The play follows LBJ through his first year in office, assuming power following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and going on to be elected in his own right the following year, when he defeated Barry Goldwater by a large margin. Johnson's leadership in the passage of the Civil Rights Act is a key part of the drama, with Martin Luther King Jr., J. Edgar Hoover and Hubert H. Humphrey among those who also figure as major characters. Bill Rauch directed the Cambridge production and will also stage the play in New York.

Schenkkan leaked the news on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend that the production would transfer to Broadway during the current season.

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Jeffrey Richards, who will lead the producing team with Jerry Frankel and Louise Gund, confirmed the move to The New York Times on Sunday. Exact dates and a theater have not been determined, and no cast beyond three-time Emmy winner Cranston has been confirmed for the transfer.

However, with the play on track to open during the 2013-14 season (which ends in May), it puts Cranston into an uncommonly crowded field of lauded lead actors in meaty roles vying for Tony Awards consideration.

Among other contenders scheduled to open this season are Denzel Washington in A Raisin in the Sun, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in the repertory double of No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot, Mark Rylance also doing double-duty in Twelfth Night and Richard III, Daniel Craig in Betrayal and Ethan Hawke in Macbeth.

Also in the field is Zachary Quinto, who recently opened to superlative reviews in another Richards production, The Glass Menagerie.