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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
74
Avg Score

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

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

71
Intelligent, Disappointing, Confusing, Great staging, Too long

See it if you like history plays. Less confusing if you lived through this period and know all these people. Probably confusing to young people.

Don't see it if you don't like history plays, are not interested in American history and politics, can't bear long slow plays.

Also Brian Cox is a fine actor but he is miscast as LBJ - doesn't catch his... Read more Read less

82
Relevant, Great acting, Great staging, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You like historical plays and are interested in the LBJ era. Very well acted and cleverly staged. Fast paced but too long.

Don't see it if You don’t like long plays with large casts and historical subject matter and many plot lines.

77
Too much in same tone, Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if It’s a detailed history lesson that moves quickly for its length. Strong on Vietnam and race relations spiraling out with some good acting.

Don't see it if Not enough inner life of LBJ, cox screaming. RFK too much caricature & unlikeable. MLK didn’t seem as strong as I remember. R Thomas wasted.

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

92
Thought-provoking, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoyed All The Way, or like an enjoyable and powerful historical piece dealing with the civil rights fights of the mid 60's.

Don't see it if you dislike very talky plays, where you actually have to pay strict attention. You dislike "theatre in the round".

Also The Great Society is a worthy successor to the 2014 season's All The W... Read more Read less

80
Greatish

See it if You want to experience recent American history in an upscale environment.

Don't see it if You hate long historical tracts without a starry cast.

Also I liked this more than I thought, given the middling reviews. Cox is s... Read more Read less

77
Disappointing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want to see some great acting - and some 'behind the scenes' information of the times/deals during the Johnson administration.

Don't see it if You do not like historical dramas. You are not interested in the 60s and how those years evolved and may have shaped the country.

Also Being of a certain age, this all happened while I was in middle/high s... Read more Read less

73
Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Thought-provoking

See it if you like Lyndon Johnson- charming and a bully. The stage is crowded and the illustrated lecture at times seems like history homework.

Don't see it if you expect another Bryan Cranston "All the Way" focussed and riveting theater experience. This one is a disappointment.

81
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you want to watch a solid cast, led by Brian Cox. Or if you enjoyed "All the Way." Impactful storytelling, with some very powerful moments.

Don't see it if you're looking for a broader context for the storytelling. It's very much through the LBJ lens and MLK Jr's death is almost an afterthought.

89
Clever, Entertaining, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You like several great actors telling an interesting story

Don't see it if You like musicals and light comedies

80
Intelligent, Relevant, Slow, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy historical pieces with large casts.

Don't see it if you want a fast moving fictional play.

78
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you like history plays; you like LBJ and presidential politics; you saw ALL THE WAY and want to see the sequel

Don't see it if you aren't familiar with the time period; don't like short scenes and little character development

Also The Great Society is the sequel to the LBJ play All the Way. While the... Read more Read less

66
Slow, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Educational, Ambitious

See it if you can find a cheap ticket - I got a great seat at a very low price!

Don't see it if you're looking for something fully rounded.

Also The pacing was odd - I think it tried to cover too much. But I learned... Read more Read less

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

78
Relevant, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if It is beautifully directed, well acted, and about an important part of our history.Extremely relevant.

Don't see it if If you do not like LBJ and don't want to learn about his legacy.

82
Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if U wish to fathom deeper the legacy & problems some towering political figures of the 60s had to face. Great acting,writing and direction.*

Don't see it if Expect more abt LBJ's personality rather than facts. Brian Cox is brilliant but would be even more convincing with a pronounced TEXAN drawl

Also *Really great acting from the whole cast.... 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.

77
Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy political dramas.

Don't see it if You want a short-n-sweet show.

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

71
Lbj again

See it if you want more about LBJ good acting

Don't see it if you've had enough

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

71
Disappointing, Relevant, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy history/political plays, saw All The Way and want to finish the story, or are an LBJ fanatic (many were in attendance)

Don't see it if you are not a fan of lengthy works (act two is very long) or political plays don’t interest you

Also I had heard so many good things about this play during the run in Ashl... 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'"
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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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