Already closed | 2h 45m | Upper W Side

The Great Society

From 278 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

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 (278)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

During previews
76
Great acting, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if Competent historical drama of LBJ's turbulent 60's presidency Many of NYC"s finest stage actors elevate this docu-drama above the mundane

Don't see it if While it's basically a high-toned dramatized civics lesson.such a torpid portrayal of these volatile events is a major misfire

During previews
82
Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you want to relive or understand for the first time the struggles in the country and the people who shaped important national initiatives.

Don't see it if you are looking to be entertained - there are a few laughs around LBJ's frank talk, but this is a review of a tough period & serious issues.

During previews
81
Interesting, Epic, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Large cast of characters depict the backdrop to the nadir years of 36th's presidency. Part 2 reminds that Americans always survive politics.

Don't see it if Witnessed. Endured. Enjoyed? "Brian" spelled w/o the "Y" isn't going "All the Way." Documentary-dry similar to the superior "Stuff Happens."

During previews
75
Engaging, Disappointing, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if you're looking for an engaging history lesson.

Don't see it if you saw the movie Selma and the musical Party People--this show covers a lot of the same ground.

During previews
86
Another documentary style show, Educational, Great staging

See it if V. interesting. If you are older, to be reminded of that time in history. For younger people a great way to gain some insight into that time

Don't see it if Somewhat hard to follow. They make every effort to introduce each person, but with people playing multiple parts, it is sometimes confusing.

Also ...you spend time trying to get oriented and to see what part the acto... Read more Read less

During previews
78
Good performances. good story. very relevant.

See it if You appreciate shows about our past history.

Don't see it if You don't like shows that are historical in nature.

During previews
84
Where were you reminder, Intelligent, Epic, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Weren't born, or need jolt of where was I during major happenings of the LBJ era, 2 compare/contrast truisms of politics from then 2 now

Don't see it if no interest in history or avoiding mistakes of the past, have nothing 2 learn, can't be bothered with the body politic, would rather sleep

During previews
75
For someone who lived through it, this 60s history play was old hat

See it if But it's a good choice for those unfamiliar with LBJ. Didn't grab me as "All The Way" did. Unfocused script and too much milling around.

Don't see it if I liked Brian Cox but he was too short & the accent was wrong. Coleman was too tall for MLK & his voice was wrong too. Pinkham's RFK was AOK

During previews
79
Intelligent, Too long, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if Interested in the last years of LBJ presidency. Well staged with great projections.

Don't see it if 2nd act bogs down after excellent 1st act. At times feels like a history lesson, hitting most of the issues, but not offering new insights.

Also Saw an early preview. Needs tightening.

During previews
75
Relevant, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if If you are into history, specifically US history, if you are interested in politics, specially LBJ and his views on society.

Don't see it if History, politics and/or LBJ are not for you, or if you would be disappointed by the presentation of the ugliness behind great ideas.

During previews
90
Demands full-engagement and can feel long, Illuminative work that makes you question your current world, Intelligent and immersive, Riveting and commanding actors, Informative

See it if you enjoy powerful political plays, invested in goals and flaws of America's "system," or want to watch a stunning cast of seasoned actors.

Don't see it if uninterested in 1960s American politics, (of racial discord, Vietnam, violence), you need an “easy” show, or you dislike 3-hour-dramas.

Also Even if you haven’t seen All the Way, The Great Society is wonderfully... Read more Read less

During previews
84
Thought-provoking, Profound, Epic, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want to gain an understanding of the LBJ era. Large cast w/some memorable performances. Great use of visual media.

Don't see it if you abhor violence depicted on stage and don't really care about LBJ and our involvement in last century events.

Also Having lived through (as an adult) the '60's, I found much of the depi... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in a character study of LBJ dealing with civil rights, domestic programs and the Vietnam War during his presidency.

Don't see it if You are not interested in historical dramas that pack in a lot of events.

Also I enjoyed this play as the large cast and constantly changing scenes k... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Masterful sequel about events in presidency of LBJ,particularly civil rights,voting act,medicare,Vietnam war.Great performances by all.

Don't see it if Historical plays are of disinterest to you. It touches on many significant events in our lifetime.

During previews
74
Educational, Turgid, Dense, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you want to learn about LBJ's presidency in 3 hrs. Strong performances (esp. Cox), but densely-packed drama tries to do too much. Too long.

Don't see it if no interest in 1960s US politics/history. Compelling, but undermined by length/scope. Tries for KING LEAR, but is History Channel instead.

During previews
78
Nearly 3 hours, Heavy lifting by cox, A mid-60s us political history lesson, A bit slow at moments, Fine and persuasive acting

See it if You are a political junkie. Like Brian Cox, Richard Thomas, Bryce Pinkerton, Mark Kudisch. Liked ALL THE WAY.

Don't see it if You are impatient or easily bored by tales of political history.

During previews
75
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great acting

See it if you are a history buff and want to learn more about LBJ and the civil rights movement/Vietnam. The first act is fantastic.

Don't see it if you do not like plays that are 3 hours long. The second act is super disappointing following a great act 1.

During previews
73
Epic, Ambitious, Slow, Great acting

See it if you can handle hours of history lessons presented by a number of very excellent actors.

Don't see it if you think history is a slog or are looking for something that has more action and less talk

During previews
78
Intelligent, Overly long, Great acting, Resonant, Ambitious

See it if you are interested in Lyndon Johnson's presidency and the mid to late 1960s, in general. Major figures of the time are well-portrayed.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in this period. The play is dense and ambitious with a lot of characters and scenes. Probably too many. Runs too long.

During previews
71
Engaging, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a well-acted historical play about an important and volatile period of U.S. history.

Don't see it if a nearly three-hour historical play isn't your cup of tea.

During previews
88
Epic, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Great staging

See it if you want to see a show that depicts Lyndon Johnson time in the White House with over 50 characters. It shows how challenging his job was.

Don't see it if you did not live though this time period you might find it difficult to understand all the complexities - the plays has lots of plots.

During previews
79
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Absorbing

See it if You like political theater or want to see a part of history reenacted on the stage by talented actors.

Don't see it if You don't like politics or history, want deep character development or dynamic staging that changes dramatically between scenes.

Also Clever staging and overall, engaging. I saw one of the first previews ... Read more Read less

During previews
70
More film-style docudrama than stage play

See it if you want to learn mid-to-late 60s history or brag at the water cooler that you saw Brian Cox play LBJ & Richard Thomas as Hubert Humphrey.

Don't see it if unless you want to see a big & talented cast & well-done sets put to poor use with little dramatic effect in a 3-hour marathon.

During previews
100
Thought-provoking, Riveting, Must see, Great staging, Great acting

See it if See the history of LBJ's time as President and the problems that existed at onset of Viet Nam & desegregatio Cast & ensemble were excellent

Don't see it if If you do not like history or politics. Have painful memories of Viet Nam & desegregation issues

During previews
85
Profound, Epic, Great acting, Confusing, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a shameful part of American history that is being slowly forgotten as well as a master class in acting by the entire cast

Don't see it if you are triggered by racism or violence or are looking for an easy answer and a show all wrapped up neatly at the end


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'"
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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.'"
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