All the Way with Bryan Cranston
Merriam-Webster defines “tour de force” as a feat or display of strength, skill or ingenuity. Next to that definition, there should be a picture of Bryan Cranston.
He is giving a tour de force performance on Broadway right now in the play All the Way, where he portrays President Lyndon Johnson. It’s a drama based on history and real events. Lest you think this is a snoozefest, think again.
While the material in and of itself is engaging, it’s Mr. Cranston’s performance as the “accidental” president who took the oath of office on an airplane following the death of John F. Kennedy, that puts this show in the stratosphere.
I left the theater with only one word in mind. “Wow.”
Trailer for All the Way:
Thanks to Mr. Cranston, the play is three hours of non-stop energy and electricity. He gives everything he has portraying a troubled president determined to serve another term in office — at all costs.
Mr. Cranston is a true chameleon. Hilarious as wacky dad Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, then eerily sinister as good guy Walter White turned drug lord Heisenberg in Breaking Bad, he has now conquered Broadway.
Breaking Bad fans might recognize a little bit of both Walter White and Heisenberg at times in Mr. Cranston’s performance. He spares no expense with his emotions and puts everything he has out there. The result is nothing short of extraordinary. A rare moment in theater when you recognize true greatness and realize you are seeing something very special.
Just as in his TV shows, Mr. Cranston is surrounded by a terrific cast in All the Way. You may recognize Michael McKean (Laverne & Shirley, This is Spinal Tap), Ethan Phillips (Neelix in Star Trek: Voyager), and John McMartin (Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, All the President’s Men and so much more).
You probably won’t recognize other fine actors in the cast such as Brandon J. Dirden, who does an uncanny Martin Luther King, Jr. He is an up and comer, be on the lookout for him in things to come.
If you are a Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad fan, I highly urge you to go to New York and catch All the Way now on Broadway. Cancel your other vacation plans. This is something you will never forget and will remember for a lifetime. The show has a strictly limited run, and ends June 29, 2014. So get your tickets now and just go.
When Mr. Cranston wins his first Tony, for his Broadway debut no less, you will wish someone had told you how amazing his performance was so you could have experienced it. Consider that wish granted.