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All The Way

A couple of summers ago I saw the world premiere of a new play while we were visiting our daughter and son-in-law, who are actors with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It’s called “All the Way” and it deals with the early presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson from the JFK assassination to his election.

Now, it’s on its way to Broadway and is almost guaranteed big box office success, because Bryan Cranston — yes, the same Bryan Cranston who starred as a meth-cooking science teacher on “Breaking Bad” — will be on stage playing the role of LBJ.

But that’s only part of the story.

The play is an eye-opening reflection of that era in Washington politics and a stunning portrait of how different that world is from today. The plot revolved around the early 1960s and how the powerful Texas senator — thought of as loyal to the South — managed to get his civil rights legislation passed against the bigoted block of Southern Democrats who vehemently opposed it.

Surprise! I said in the 1960s those who were opposed to racial equality laws were democrats! History is often the best and most surprising drama of all.

I’m Pat McMahon.