Brian Cox, star of HBO’s “Succession,” will play Lyndon B. Johnson in this fall’s Broadway production of Robert Schenkkan’s “The Great Society” — the follow-up to his Tony-winning play “All the Way” that secured Bryan Cranston a Tony of his own as the Texas political giant who became the 36th president of the United States.
Performances will begin a 12-week run on September 6 for a still-to-be-announced official opening at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. The show includes two dozen locations and 50 characters, including Richard J. Daley (Marc Kudisch, “Finding Neverland”), Martin Luther King Jr. (Grantham Coleman, “The Americans”) and Hubert Humphrey (Richard Thomas).
Actors playing Richard Nixon, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Coretta Scott King, Lady Bird Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Governor George Wallace and Robert McNamara are still to be cast.
Bill Rauch (“All the Way”) will direct the production, which depicts the tumultuous times that led to the conclusion of the Johnson presidency in 1968. The new show premiered at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2014 and Seattle Rep in 2015.
“The Great Society” follows Johnson’s epic triumph in the landslide election of 1964 to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later. It was an era that would define history forever: the rise of the civil rights movement, the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the destruction of Vietnam and the creation of some of the greatest social programs America has ever known.
The design team includes David Korins (sets), Linda Cho (costumes), David Weiner (lights), Paul James Prendergast (composer/sound) and Victoria Sagady (projections).
Before starring in HBO’s “Succession,” Cox made a name for himself playing other real-life figures, including Winston Churchill in 2017’s “Churchill” and Nazi war criminal Hermann Goring in TNT’s “Nuremberg” — for which he won an Emmy Award in 2001. Other credits include “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” Spike Lee’s “The 25th Hour,” Spike Jonze’s “Adaptation” and “Frasier” (as Daphne’s father).
In addition to the 2014 Tony Award for Best Play, Schenkkan earned a Pulitzer Prize for his three-part 1992 drama “The Kentucky Cycle.” His film and TV credits include “The Pacific,” Philip Noyce’s “The Quiet American,” USA’s “Spartacus” and Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.”