A friend invited me to a performance of All the Way at Seattle Repertory Theatre, and I expected an intellectually interesting performance examining the first year of Lyndon Baines Johnson's (LBJ) presidency. Instead, I found myself extremely entertained while being taken back in time to recall how I thought and felt back in 1963 and 1964.
The play was brilliantly staged and easy to follow, which is no small task for a performance filled with people known to most people over a certain age. In addition to LBJ, the cast included Robert McNamara, Lady Bird Johnson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Hubert Humphrey, J. Edgar Hoover and a host of other celebrities. Although some of those characters did not seem to physically resemble the real people, within a few minutes I had no trouble viewing them as the historical character and relating to them as real people stuck in a very challenging situation.
The interaction of those unique characters provided a distinctive glimpse into an extremely important period of American history. That interaction was seamlessly supported by a vast array of theatrical magic as the stage transformed from one setting to another before our eyes.
All in all, the night was quite moving and far more entertaining than I imagined, and I look forward to the possibility of attending the second part of this two-show series when the Seattle Rep opens The Great Society, which deals with the LBJ years after he is reelected.