It’s a historic negotiation between LBJ and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. starting in 1963 as President Johnson concentrates on getting the Civil Rights Act passed, with only a hint of Vietnam on the side. In All the Way (winner of the Tony Award for Best Play in 2014), Johnson (James Black) displays his well-deserved reputation for “brusqueness, a foul mouth and salty tongue,” according to Alley Theatre company member Chris Hutchison (playing Robert McNamara).
Not only does Johnson have Congress to convince, but he must persuade King (Shawn Hamilton) that what will become the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is worth his support. King, in turn, must persuade other black leaders of the time.
Alley company actors, local actors and members of the Dallas Theater Center take on a variety of parts during what Hutchison describes as a serious play with comedic moments by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan Jr.
Besides McNamara, Hutchison plays several other roles: butler, barber cutting LBJ’s hair and a couple of Southern racists. Set in the time beginning shortly after Johnson assumes his presidency after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the play tracks through developments ending with his re-election.
“Certainly, the subject matter is important,” says Hutchison. “Social and inequality are still huge parts of our world. There are many parallels to be drawn. It’s very topical.”
Performances of All the Way are scheduled for February 3-21 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $26-$70.