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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)


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

Great acting, Great staging, Relevant, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You like smart, historical plays that cover seminal events, describe political figures, and share the backroom deals and impacts.

Don't see it if You avoid political plays and have no interest in learning about LBJ's presidency, Vietnam War and MLK's non-violence movement.

Great acting, Slow, Resonant, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if You are a history buff, are intrigued by a "inside", more in depth look into the turmoil of the LBJ presidency, Vietnam War and racism.

Don't see it if You enjoy a more traditional show with a straight forward style of dialogue and character development. You are not interested in history.

Disappointing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like historical drama of a politically charged time (when is not?) or are a fan of Brian Cox

Don't see it if if you aren't interested in a walk down memory lane with LBJ or prefer your theatre more dramatic. Actors are very good and yet....

Earnest, Disappointing, Nostalgic, Ambitious, Shallow

See it if You’re a Baby Boomer who continues to need to be told the story of the American 1960s to understand better what you didn’t in your youth.

Don't see it if You’re looking for a deep analysis of a pivotal moment in either Johnson’s presidency or his administration. This is a survey of 4 years.

Also An ambitious play with very interesting subject material, my expectati... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love history and seeing a behind the scenes look at the times of LBJ's presidency interest you.

Don't see it if History bores you or you are uncomfortable with violence.

Also Went in with low expectations but was blown away. Loved the acting and... Read more Read less

Relevant, Intense, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You are a history buff. This plays takes you back to 1964-68, one of the toughest periods in recent history.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a show about civil rights, the 60's and how we got to here.

Intelligent, Absorbing, Relevant, Intense, Ambitious

See it if if you saw All the Way, and want more. If you're interested in historical theater. If you pay attention to the set.

Don't see it if if you can't sit 3 hours. if you're not interested in Civil Rights history and presidential power. 1 major character is not-as-strong

Third rate, Awful, Disappointing

See it if You have a friend involved in the production if only to demonstrate your willingness to see anything.

Don't see it if avoidable! Film clips do a good job presenting this time. Lousy even terrible accents and hair! Painfully uncomfortable seats.

Also Trivializes rather than ennobles. The “docudrama” play can succeed but... Read more Read less

Resonant, Intelligent, Great writing, Epic, Great acting

See it if you're interested in history and drawing lines from the past to the present. The acting is amazing and Brian Cox is a wonder.

Don't see it if you're looking for escapism. This requires attention and thought. It's A LOT of dialogue with overlapping storylines. History is complicated

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if How history repeats itself, police brutality and race relations from the 60's, still ongoing in the 90's. Fun watching politicians debate.

Don't see it if Slow dialogue,. American [past history, male dominant cast

Great acting, Relevant, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You're a history buff! The cast is phenomenal and the staging is excellent

Don't see it if You want to be surprised- we all know the outcome. It is not suitable for young children.

Informative, cleverly staged, great bc, Relevant

See it if You enjoy history plays, like Brian Cox, want to relive 1965-68, appreciate LBJ's persuasive manner but know the resultant tragedy.

Don't see it if are looking for high tech, in depth character development, or a shift in the historical outcome.

Resonant, Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You want to see a fast-paced play dealing with a historic period in the 1960's and including many political figures of the time.

Don't see it if You don't like political dramas.

Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if A piece on LBJ's time as President holds any interest for you. You just want to spend a night at the theater watching phenomenal acting.

Don't see it if Essentially sitting through two plus hours of monologues is not your thing. Or if you have no interest in LBJ or the mid to late 1960s.

Also I went into this without having read one review (and without having se... Read more Read less

Too long, Relevant, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you like political dramas and want to be reminded that political dysfunction didn't start in the current administration.

Don't see it if don't like talky political drama.

Disappointing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if History buffs and those who care about about social welfare policy (why we are where we are) will appreciate this. Strong ensemble.

Don't see it if You loved Bryan Cranston in All the Way - Brian Cox blew enough lines to be distracting.

Also Casting was odd - part of LBJ's power was his physical size so having ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Enchanting, Clever, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy full throated historical drama which is alive and confusing as its era. The actors are very good especially Cox and Pinkham. Go!

Don't see it if If you saw LBJ and want Bryan Cranston back, want a linear narrative which fully explains the LBJ era, or find politics and power boring.

Like a high school history pageant, Disappointing

See it if If you are a devoted LBJ fan or history buff and don't care if the play is good or not.

Don't see it if you want a play to show you something, not just tell. It was like a Power Point acted out - didn't get behind events to reveal character.

Also I loved "All the Way" and lived through the events depicted, but this ... Read more Read less

Great staging, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if you are fascinated by this period in American history (60s). you enjoy seeing historical figures treated as (mostly) multidimensional.

Don't see it if you find vignettes of different moments confusing or frustrating. you want perfect accents.


See it if A powerful history lesson on how we made America almost great, again.

Don't see it if History and mostly arguing defeat you

Great acting

See it if You enjoy a great cast led by Brian Cox portray an important period in American history

Don't see it if You are looking for a nuanced portrayal of Johnson and the other political participants of that time

Also Maybe I've read too many of Robert Caro's books on Johnson and his tim... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like plays that deal with and treat political figures as well as our all too recent political past that still resonates today.

Don't see it if you have little interest in or connection to the Lyndon Johnson presidency, the political and social upheavals of that time, quick scenes.

Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if You like dry, instructive, historical drama with little characterization and less heart. Well acted and serviceably staged, but zzzzz.

Don't see it if You prefer plays that have a heartbeat.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if The play is well-acted and makes you more curious to delve into history. Sparked a lot of conversation after the show.

Don't see it if I was anticipating the follow up to All the Way for a few years now. This didn’t deliver.

Masterful, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You are a history nerd, are interested in seeing some phenomenal monologues,or you want to see some clever staging.

Don't see it if You need to see action to understand it (not as much staging re. Vietnam as Civil Rights) or lack basic historical background about the era.

Also I was kind of dissapointed that after the fuss made over Bobby Kennedy... 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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