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
74
Avg Score

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.

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

100
Must see, Masterful, Intense, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You like plays about modern American politics in general and Presidential history in particular.

Don't see it if you aren't a fan of facts and couldn't care less about civil rights or Washington insider politics.

Also I loved this play! In my view this play is as close to perfect as it g... Read more Read less

79
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if Interested in Politics, History or LBJ. Like thought provoking shows that explore history. Tour de Force by Brian Cox. Enjoy complex shows

Don't see it if Don't like long shows with lots of dialogue. Want something light and fluffy or a musical.

83
Great writing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You’re interested in learning more about LBJ & that time in politics. Interesting set. I ended up liking it more that I anticipated

Don't see it if You prefer a high energy story or have no interest in the storyline

80
Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you enjoy historical plays with exceptional acting. Brian Cox is outstanding as LBJ.

Don't see it if you are not interested in political history or the climate of the U.S. in the 1960s.

Also This is a history lesson but told in a very interesting way. An enormo... Read more Read less

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

79
Well-written, Historical, Dry

See it if you're interested in learning more about LBJ and the historical events of 1964-65. The play is informative and the staging effective.

Don't see it if you're not interested in history; you're looking for traditional plot/drama. The material is a bit dry.

Also I'm in my 30s, and I found it worthwhile to learn more about an era I ... Read more Read less

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

85
Dated, Ambitious, Intense, Slow, Great acting

See it if You enjoy history and political plays

Don't see it if You’re not into history or 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

76
Thought-provoking, Hilarious, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if Historical plays about real characters are your interest.

Don't see it if You are not at least a little familiar with the history of the time period covered in the play - Civil Rights, Viet Nam, etc.

67
Disappointing, Confusing, Indulgent, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if You're intent on seeing anything involving LBJ and/or Brian Cox, even if the quality is mediocre.

Don't see it if You expect top quality staging, a well-edited and managed script, a carefully managed cast... Oh, I could go on and on. It is a chaotic mess

Also I was very disappointed with the play, having seen "All the Way" with ... Read more Read less

95
Resonant, Intelligent, Great staging, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want to see masterful acting by an amazing cast, in a play based on actual events that happened 50 years ago. Just a great all around!

Don't see it if You don’t want an entertaining history lesson. If you don’t want to sit in a theater for three hours.

75
Insightful, Relevant, Great acting, Great staging, Intense

See it if you're curious about late 1960s US history, for Bryce Pinkham, Brian Cox, Mark Kudisch, and Grantham Coleman, or political dramas

Don't see it if simulated violence, racism, and racial slurs bother you, are easily distracted, or don't like lengthy shows

Also I saw the matinee on Oct 5. It is 2 hrs and 45 mins with 1 intermissio... Read more Read less

50
Disappointing, Not theatre, Good acting

See it if you need a compact history lesson and you love testosterone-filled (good) ensembles

Don't see it if you actually like plays.

Also this is the fourth show I see at Vivian Beaumont Theatre that has the ... Read more Read less

75
Indulgent, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy American history, the writing of Robert Schenkkan or loved All The Way and would like to see the sequel.

Don't see it if you prefer plays with simply plots and minimal characters. This work is overstuffed, which at times works against the play. Cox is very good

65
Important, Lackluster, Relevant, Intelligent, Disappointing

See it if you like political drama, even those that are more a pageant of events than real drama.

Don't see it if you are not interested in recent American history.

Also It feels more like a history lesson than a play. Although it covers so... Read more Read less

70
Intelligent, Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if If you're a history buff or you want to know more about the beginnings of civil rights legislation, medicare, and the Vietnam War.

Don't see it if Long, one note (screaming), some players were good some were not. LBJ wasn't really there

47
Banal, Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you have no knowledge of the period in question and want to see it enacted in a production devoid of theatrical or artistic interest.

Don't see it if you have literally anything else to do. Slow moving and dull.

Also It's three hours long, but it flies by like four. The only interest is... Read more Read less

80
Relevant, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy recognizing that governing is always hard and humans are just pathetic. Makes today feel a little less awful.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy history. I was just a kid during the time period of the play, and I loved the insights gained from my mature perspective!

80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You would like a closer look at history. See it if you like to see the people behind the headlines face the world and their audience.

Don't see it if You are looking for a lighthearted slice of political life. Don't see it if you prefer musicals or comedies to dramatic plays.

40
A hot mess, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if you want to get an overview of lyndon johnson’s presidency, with the focus on civil rights and the war in vietnam.

Don't see it if you are a serious student of the turbulent late 1960s ... this play will do nothing but frustrate and disappoint.

Also the expository first act is little more than a classic comic book para... Read more Read less

79
Historical, Great acting

See it if you enjoy historical plays about U.S. politics; if you enjoy seeing the many parallels between past & present day society & politics

Don't see it if you don't enjoy plays; if you don't care about the 1960's; if you'd like to avoid yet another drama that could easily be 30 minutes shorter

84
Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you enjoy historical plays and good acting.

Don't see it if you prefer lighter topics, smaller productions, are not interested in escalation of the Vietnam war during Johnson and his social agenda.

Also Had read the negative reviews beforehand and am glad I decided to see ... 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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