Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Sept. 13 – Oct. 12: Bryan Cranston, Brandon J. Dirden, Michael McKean, Reed Birney, Peter Jay Fernandez, Crystal Dickinson and More Set for Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way at A.R.T.

Bryan Cranston stars as LBJ in All The Way at A.R.T., September 13 - October 12, 2013.

Bryan Cranston stars as LBJ in All The Way at A.R.T., September 13 – October 12, 2013.

Three-time Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston stars as Lyndon Baines Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s new play All The Way, directed by Bill Rauch, at The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University. Preview performances begin on September 13 at the Loeb Drama Center at A.R.T., 66 Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA, and continue through October 12, 2013. Opening night is set for September 19.

Brandon J. Dirden and his wife Crystal Dickinson play Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King in All The Way. Photo by Lia Chang

Brandon J. Dirden and his wife Crystal Dickinson play Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King in All The Way. Photo by Lia Chang

Bryan Cranston is joined by 2013 Lucille Lortel Award nominee Brandon J. Dirden (The Piano Lesson off-Broadway, Enron on Broadway) in the role of Martin Luther King, Jr. They lead an ensemble cast, each playing multiple roles, including Drama Desk Award winner Michael McKean (The Homecoming and Superior Donuts on Broadway; A Mighty Wind, This is Spinal Tap) as J. Edgar Hoover; Obie Award winner Reed Birney (Picnic on Broadway, Blasted Off-Broadway; “Gossip Girl”) as Hubert Humphrey; Dakin Matthews (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and Henry IV on Broadway; Lincoln) as Richard Russell; Arnie Burton (Peter and The Starcatcher and The 39 Steps on Broadway) as Robert McNamara; Crystal Dickinson (Clybourne Park on Broadway) as Coretta Scott King; Betsy Aidem (Nikolai and the Others Off-Broadway; “The Americans”) as Lady Bird Johnson; Eric Lenox Abrams (The Piano Lesson Off-Broadway; “Boardwalk Empire”) as Bob Moses; Peter Jay Fernandez (Cyrano de Bergerac and Macbeth on Broadway; “House of Cards,” “The Good Wife”) as Roy Wilkins; Marianne Hagan (Mercy Off-Broadway; “Friends,” “Third Watch”) as Lurleen Wallace; William Jackson Harper (Titus Andronicus, and The Total Bent Off-Broadway; “The Electric Company”) as Stokely Carmichael; Christopher Liam Moore (All The Way at OSF; “10 Items or Less”) as Walter Jenkins; and Ethan Phillips (November and My Favorite Year on Broadway; The Island, Green Card) as Stanley Levison. The cast also includes Dan Butler and J. Bernard Calloway in multiple roles.

 J. Bernard Calloway, Reed Birney and Peter Jay Fernandez on a break from rehearsing  ALL THE WAY at A.R.T. in Cambridge, MA on  September 6, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

J. Bernard Calloway, Reed Birney and Peter Jay Fernandez on a break from rehearsing ALL THE WAY at A.R.T. in Cambridge, MA on September 6, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Set design is by Christopher Acebo, costume design by Deborah M. Dryden, lighting design by Jane Cox, original music and sound design by Paul James Pendergast, and video projections by Shawn Sagady. The dramaturg is Tom Bryant.

1963. An assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon B. Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing the country into turmoil. Alternately bullying and beguiling, he enacts major social programs, faces down opponents and wins the 1964 election in a landslide. But in faraway Vietnam, a troublesome conflict looms. In the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s vivid dramatization of LBJ’s first year in office, means versus ends play out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war. A searing, enthralling exploration of the morality of power.

All the Way plays much like a Shakespearean history, with a complex, commanding monarch and competing factions embroiled in wars and rebellions. Only here, their battlefields are the Oval Office and Congressional chambers, their swords motions and filibusters.” – Austin Chronicle

All the Way was recently awarded the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and the 2013 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. It was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF)’s as part of its American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle and premiered there in 2012.

Bryan Cranston (LBJ) is best known for his role of Walter White in the award-winning series “Breaking Bad,” which earned him three consecutive Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild award. He won a second Screen Actors Guild award this year for his co-starring role as CIA operative Jack O’Donnell in the 2012 Oscar-winning Best Picture, Argo. He is currently in production on Legendary Pictures remake of Godzilla. His other film credits include Drive, Total Recall, Little Miss Sunshine, and Saving Private Ryan, among others. For six seasons he played Hal in the sitcom “Malcom in the Middle” which earned him several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. His other television credits include the recurring role of Dr. Whatley on “Seinfeld,” and the astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.” His theater credits include Sam Shepard’s play The God of Hell at the Geffen Playhouse, Chapter Two, The Taming of the Shrew, A Doll’s House, Eastern Standard, Wrestlers, Barefoot in the Park, and The Steven Weed Show, for which he won a Drama-Logue Award.

Michael McKean (J. Edgar Hoover) was recently seen in New York in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, as well as in King Lear, Our Town, Superior Donuts, The Homecoming, The Pajama Game, A Second Hand Memory, and Hairspray. His films include This is Spinal Tap, Clue, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, Whatever Works, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. He received a Grammy Award for the title song of A Mighty Wind, written with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy; and an Oscar nomination for Best Song for A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow, written with Annette O’Toole. He is the first million-dollar Celebrity Jeopardy champion, and appeared on the Loeb Stage in several productions in the 1960s.

Brandon J. Dirden (Martin Luther King, Jr.) was recently seen in Enron and Clybourne Park on Broadway and Off-Broadway in The Piano Lesson, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Bottom of the World, among others. His regional credits include Fences at the Huntington Theatre and South Coast Rep., Othello, Twelfth Night, and Metamorphoses at Georgia Shakespeare, and Julius Caesar and As You Like It at North Carolina Shakespeare. He was seen on television in “The Big C” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.”

Reed Birney (Hubert Humphrey) received a 2006 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance. He was recently seen in Circle Mirror Transformation (Obie and Drama Desk Awards) at Playwrights Horizons, Stuff Happens (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble) at the Public Theater, The Family of Man at Second Stage, and Bug at Barrow Street, among others. His television credits include “House of Cards,” “The Good Wife,” “Gossip Girl,” and recurring roles on “Law & Order.”

Peter Jay Fernandez (Roy Wilkins) is a two time Audelco winner. His recently appeared Off-Broadway in Epic Theatre’s exciting production of RICHARD III: Born with Teeth (Epic Theatre, in Luz at La Mama, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at New Haarlem Arts, and CQ/CX at Atlantic Theater Co.. He has appeared on Broadway in Cyrano de Bergerac, Henry IV, Jelly’s Last Jam, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice. His other Off Broadway credits include: Macbeth, The Pain and the Itch, Too Much Memory, Widowers Houses, Thunder Knocking on the Door, Phaedra in Delirium, As You Like It, Henry VIII, Spell# 7, Coriolanus, Split Second, Checkmates and more. His film and television credits include “House of Cards,” “Deception (TV),” “The Good Wife,” “Blue Bloods,” “Body of Proof,” “Law and Order(s),” “Mama I Want to Sing,” The Adjustment Bureau, Deception (Film), Preaching to the Choir, Funny Valentines and more. Awards: Helen Hayes (Nom.) BTTA (Nom), Audie Award (narration).

About the Creative Team:
Robert Schenkkan is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of eleven plays, two musicals and a collection of short plays. The Kentucky Cycle (Pulitzer Prize, LA Drama Critics Award and Penn Award) was produced on Broadway where it was nominated for the Tony, Drama Desk, and the Outer Critics’ Circle Awards. His other plays include, A Single Shard, By the Waters of Babylon, Handler, Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune, The Devil and Daniel Webster, Heaven on Earth, Tachinoki, Final Passages, and The Dream Thief. He is the co-author of the film, The Quiet American. His film, Hacksaw Ridge, is currently in pre-production to be directed by Randall Wallace later this year. For television he wrote on the HBO miniseries The Pacific, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, and was nominated for two Emmys and won a WGA Award. He also wrote the miniseries: The Andromeda Strain, Crazy Horse, and Spartacus. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Ensemble Studio Theater and an alumnus of New Dramatists.

Bill Rauch is the Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Having spent eleven seasons as director, he has directed three world premieres: Mr. Schenkkan’s All the Way and By the Waters of Babylon, and Bill Cain’s Equivocation; and thirteen other plays including Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, Measure for Measure, The Pirates of Penzance, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, The Music Man, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, Hedda Gabler, and Handler. Among his initiatives at OSF, Mr. Rauch committed to commissioning up to 37 new plays to dramatize moments of change in American history. American Revolutions: the U.S. History Cycle is now in its fourth year of productions. Mr. Rauch is also cofounder of Cornerstone Theater Company, where he directed more than 40 productions and served as its artistic director from 1986 to 2006. He has directed a number of world premieres, including The Clean House at Yale Repertory Theatre; Living Out and For Here or To Go? at the Mark Taper Forum; and My Wandering Boy and The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler at South Coast Repertory. He also directed the New York premiere of The Clean House at the Lincoln Center. Work elsewhere includes productions at South Coast Repertory, Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater Festival and En Garde Arts. He is the recipient of numerous awards, and is a graduate of Harvard College.

For tickets to All The Way and further information call 617-547-8300 or visit

Lia Chang. Photo by Thom Sesma

Lia Chang. Photo by Thom Sesma

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar.

Other Articles about Peter Jay Fernandez:
Peter Jay Fernandez, Francois Battiste, Charles Brice, J. Bernard Calloway, Bryan Terrell Clarke, Patrick Cummings, Devin E. Haqq, Billy Eugene Jones, Stanley Wayne Mathis, Cedric Turner, Stephen Tyrone Williams Set for PROJECT1VOICE’s Benefit Staged Reading of A Soldier’s Story at Kumble Theatre on June 17, 2013
James Wallert, Peter Jay Fernandez, Melissa Friedman, Godfrey L. Simmons and More Set for Epic Theatre’s RICHARD III: Born with Teeth at the Pershing Square Signature Center, April 16 – May 4, 2013
Peter Jay Fernandez Set for World Premiere of Catherine Filloux’s LUZ at La MaMa’s First Floor Theatre, September 28-October 14, 2012
Photos: Larry Bryggman, Denise Burse, Peter Jay Fernandez, Tim Hopper, Arliss Howard, Kobi Libii, Mary McCann, Neil Pepe, David Pittu, Steve Rosen, Sheila Tapia, Debra Winger at Atlantic Theatre’s Opening Night of Gabe McKinley’s CQ/CX
Larry Bryggman, Peter Jay Fernandez, Arliss Howard and David Pittu Set for Atlantic Theater Company’s CQ/CX, January 25-March 4, 2012
Denise Burse & Peter Jay Fernandez Featured in INTAR Reading of Andrew Dolan’s The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King
Multimedia: Zooman and The Sign Opening Night Party
Peter Jay Fernandez and Laura Heisler Star in Too Much Memory

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre
Roscoe Orman, Anthony Chisholm, Amari Cheatom, Stephen McKinley Henderson and More Set for Live Recording of Jitney at The Greene Space
Oct. 9 – Nov. 17: Denise Burse and Michael Genet Star in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts at Center Stage
Photos: Opening Night of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man with John Earl Jelks, Richard Masur, Nikki M. James, K. Todd Freeman, Ray Fisher
Photos: Edward James Hyland Stars in Lee Blessing’s WORLD PREMIERE A User’s Guide to Hell, Featuring Bernard Madoff At Atlantic Stage II, September 5 – 28, 2013
NYTW Production Photos of Fetch Clay, Make Man: Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, John Earl Jelks, K. Todd Freeman
Photos: Debra Ann Byrd and Christopher Sutton Lead the Cast of Harlem Shakespeare Festival’s Production of Antony & Cleopatra
Michi Barall, Teagle Bougere, Ismael Cruz Cordova, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Carl Lumbly, Donald Sage MacKay set for Signature’s World Premiere of stop. reset. by Regina Taylor in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre, August 20 -September 29, 2013
John Earl Jelks, Richard Masur, Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, K. Todd Freeman and More Set for Fetch Clay, Make Man at NYTW, August 23 – October 13, 2013
Photos: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Phylicia Rashad, John Earl Jelks, Leslie Uggams, Anthony Chisholm, S. Epatha Merkerson, Taraji P. Henson, Jesse L. Martin, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Kenny Leon and More Set for August Wilson American Century Cycle Recording Series at The Greene Space in NY, Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 2013
Celebrity Actress, Pauletta Pearson Washington returns home to North Carolina starring at 2013 National Black Theatre festival with Roscoe Orman (“Sesame Street,” Willie Dynamite) and all star cast in Lorey Hayes’ award-winning “Power Play”, a play about Politics, Passion and The Power of God
Video: Power Play’s Lorey Hayes and Lia Chang on The Carmen Mathis Show Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful
The Chronicle Features Lorey Hayes’ Power Play
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season Features New Works by Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins
A Summer in Bangkok for Thom Sesma, Star of Signature’s Miss Saigon
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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