Ends Nov 24 | 2h 45m | Upper W Side

The Great Society

From 184 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing

About the show

Emmy winner Brian Cox stars as Lyndon B. Johnson in this companion piece to the Tony-winning "All The Way," which depicts the tumultuous times that led to the conclusion of the Johnson presidency. More…

From the show:

From the producer, writer, and director of the Tony Award®-winning Broadway production, All The Way, comes a thrilling new play about the LBJ legacy: The Great Society. Presented at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, this striking production features a brilliant cast portraying over fifty characters, including Emmy® and Olivier Award winner Brian Cox (“Succession,” King Lear with the Royal Shakespeare Company) as LBJ, Tony nominee Marc Kudisch (“Billions,” A Minister’s Wife at LCT) as Richard J. Daley, Grantham Coleman (Much Ado About Nothing at The Public) as Martin Luther King Jr., and Tony nominee Richard Thomas (The Little Foxes) as Hubert Humphrey.


Member Reviews (184)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing
74
Avg Score

80
Talky, Requires background history, Strong acting, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if you like history plays. TGS boasts a huge cast & clever staging. All the Way ends w a win; TGS w a loss. Focus on Vietnam, civil rts, power.

Don't see it if you want a perfect script. TGS is slow (long, talky) AND frenetic (short scs). Needs cuts, char devt. Cox is blustery. Great actors wasted.

81
Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like American history, want to know more about LBJ or follow up "All the Way," fan of Brian Cox, recall that period or lived through it

Don't see it if you don't like hectic history, characters not given chance to develop, too many events off stage, don't care about that time period

77
Skillfully brings to life the major political events of lbj's 1964-68 presidency; but lbj a "shakespearean" figure, monumental & tragic, still awaits his shakespeare

See it if teems w action; Brian Cox shows LBJ as arm-twisting force of nature

Don't see it if biopicish/uninspired; never shows us LBJ’s inner life, what drove LBJ 2 endorse Vietnam War expansion crippling his Great Society initiative

76
Intelligent, Ambitious, Epic, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you're a history buff &/or a student of the Johnson years; good technical direction; you want a refresher course for the years 1964-1968.

Don't see it if overstuffed; actors wasted with little insight into their characters; where is Johnson's southern accent & mannerisms, what was he feeling?

Also I was interested through most of the play but my mind started to wande... Read more Read less

49
Boring

See it if You really like Johnson and just love the history around his presidency

Don't see it if You are expecting to learn anything new

Also I’m just not a big fan of history. In fact if I were going to score th... Read more Read less

80
Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you lived through the LBJ years & want to understand some background.It's a terrific history lesson;I'm just not sure it's great theatre.

Don't see it if you want to be moved.Acting is uniformly brilliant,but there's very little heart here, very little story.I wanted more humanity,less lecture

79
Talky, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Illuminates a time in history that many may not be aware of. Brian Cox was brilliant. Seeing these characters come to life is thrilling.

Don't see it if Very talky. You must pay attention or you'll lose the thread of what is happening.

76
Overrated, Great acting, Great staging, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if Enjoy a well acted historical piece

Don't see it if You loved its prequel and will hold it to those high standards

75
Great writing, Intelligent, Great staging, Absorbing, History lesson, not a play

See it if you have not lived through this era and want a quick history lesson, or if you have lived through it and want to see it dramatized.

Don't see it if You don't care about history, especially this era. It's interesting to see, but it's not really a play, just a representation of the times.

80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You like Shakespeare history plays, but with American protagonists . ..and no attempt at poetry

Don't see it if You have no affinity for history or have a limited attention span .

71
Relevant

See it if How politics plows through ideals and values. Rhymes with current politics of racism deeply dividing votes, which means political power.

Don't see it if Almost all historical plot, only tidbits of character / drama. 20+ characters confuses you. Victimizing Black people is triggering.

Also Diversity: handful of Civil Rights Era Black characters, but they're a... Read more Read less

83
Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You’re ready for a very big play featuring LBJ’s ambition for a Great Society & thwarted by the tragedy of the Vietnam Wat

Don't see it if Lots of characters, plots & sub plots exhaust you. Lots of loud voices

68
Disappointing, Confusing, Slow, Relevant, Great acting

See it if you are very interested in the history of the Johnson administration. Its more of a history lesson than a play. the cast is excellent

Don't see it if you have no interest in the the 60's. Cast portrays many characters and if you are not familiar with the period it can be confusing

65
Full of sound and fury..., Very disappointing, Surprisingly unaffecting historical re-inactment of lbj's presidency

See it if You like historical re-enactments with actors trying out accents as they assume the characters of historical figures.

Don't see it if You like motivation and character in your historical characters, not bullet points and anecdotes.

Also This didn't work at all for me on any level. Everyone seemed to be sho... Read more Read less

79
Relevant, Intelligent, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in history and the players who made it and were undone by it. Splendid depiction of the unravelling of 1950s America

Don't see it if you are looking for an intimate exploration of a character. This is about history and the larger issues that made and unmade men. well done

80
Resonant, Relevant, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if If you lived through the 60's, care about politics and the inner machinations of significant change and policy, if you're a history buff

Don't see it if if you need gripping plot, have no interest in or conversely need deep dive into major changes of the 60's & the people who shaped them

65
Doesn't hold up to the audible version of caro's books, Ambitious

See it if You like American History and don't mind if the characters, as written, don't stand up to the real people

Don't see it if you have used audible.com to listen to Dallek's 1,200 page book on LBJ or Caro's 5 volume set

Also If you want to really know the story you must read or listen to Caro's... Read more Read less

69
Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Want good acting and comment.on history repeating itself. Interesting take on historical hindsight

Don't see it if Don't enjoy political history as the baseline for your plays. A bit slow paced so if you are easily bored.

75
Relevant

See it if You like political dramas involving fairly current events-in one's lifetime.

Don't see it if You disdain the above or realize things haven't changed that much on the political scene.

85
Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if All around great acting. Performed with such passion. Educational and informative history reenactment.

Don't see it if you don't like politics or history

81
Intelligent, Absorbing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if If you enjoy history from the 60s. Good acting,well staged. It’s a bit confusing but if you pay attention you will get it

Don't see it if It’s to long and sometimes confused you have to be in the mood for this play

88
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if you wish to understand the challenges LBJ faced in achieving at least some part of the great society he envisaged.

Don't see it if you do not wish to watch an absorbing play that presents all too clearly the shady side of politics.

70
Indulgent, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if You want to review LBJ’s latter presidential time in domestic and foreign affairs

Don't see it if You prefer entertainment over didactic presentations

90
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy superb acting. If you want to know more about LBJ the civil rights marches and the war in Vietnam

Don't see it if You must have lavish sets and scenery

62
A continuation of lbj's presidency that may be concise but not always dramatically compelling

See it if you're a history buff who enjoys seeing great actors perform a by the numbers pageant.

Don't see it if you already weren't bowled over by "All the Way." This isn't necessarily a step up.

Also I love political history and rather enjoyed "All the Way" a few years ... Read more Read less


October 1st, 2019
"In ‘The Great Society,’ Another Presidential Nightmare: Brian Cox plays Lyndon B. Johnson at the height of his powers, when history decided to bring him down."
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October 1st, 2019
3/5 Stars "Brian Cox plays a weakened LBJ in Robert Schenkkan's Broadway sequel to 'All the Way'"
read more
October 1st, 2019
"The Great-Man Theory of 'The Great Society'"
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October 1st, 2019
"Brian Cox stars as Lyndon Baines Johnson in the continuation of playwright Robert Schenkkan's sprawling account of the tumultuous 36th U.S. presidency that began with 'All the Way.'"
read more

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