NEW YORK – While many categories of this year’s Tony Awards are wide-open races, Robert Schenkkan‘s political bio-drama All the Way in most pundits’ forecasts is the clear frontrunner to pick up best play honors on Sunday night. And its star, Bryan Cranston, is perceived as having scant competition to win best actor in a play for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson.
But the production chalked up another significant victory this week, as producers announced recoupment of its $3.9 million investment, just after celebrating the play’s 100th performance.
Star-driven limited engagements on Broadway have become the theater industry’s closest thing to a safe bet. But even with Cranston’s popularity coming off Breaking Bad, a three-hour drama about mid 20th century politics and the passing of the Civil Rights Act was never a slam-dunk.
However, Cranston’s dynamic performance in his Broadway debut gave the play must-see status, and regular sightings of high-profile politicians in the audience helped boost the production’s editorial profile.
Directed by Bill Rauch, All the Way began preview performances on Feb. 10 at the Neil Simon Theatre and officially opened on March 6. The limited run is scheduled to play its final performance on June 29. A steady earner from the start, the production has crossed the $1 million barrier three times in weekly grosses, with cumulative box office to date of $14.3 million.
Going into the Tony Awards ceremony, the dense ensemble drama has already notched up a number of honors this season. Those include prizes from the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle, with Cranston also winning best actor from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World.
Lead producers on the Broadway run are Jeffrey Richards, Louise Gund and Jerry Frankel.