All The Way Broadway/YouTube
Bryan Cranston is going to be appearing on Broadway for the first time ever in his career – he’ll be playing President Lyndon Baines Johnson in All the Way – and I can’t wait. He already looks like him in the commercials, doesn’t he? I’m sure he studied a lot of his mannerisms and refined it as he went along performing it in Cambridge, MA over the fall.
He’s shown that he’s more than capable of inhabiting a role. He was so believable as the hapless father on Malcom in the Middle and then his slow change in Breaking Bad from a frustrated man who was facing unfair events in his life to someone who was pure, malevolent evil was something to behold. When you’re watching a show or a movie that he’s in, you are not thinking, “I’m watching Bryan Cranston act right now.” No, he becomes the person on the screen and adds so much nuance to each role, it’s really amazing to see him talk so differently when he’s not on set.
Sure, Cranston won’t have what actors on movies and television shows have: a safety net. If he flubs a line, he won’t have a chance to stop, laugh at it and then do the scene over again. No, it’ll be the theatergoers who exit chuckling and saying, “Can you believe Walter White forgot his lines?” Not that I’m worried about that happening, since the veteran actor is a consummate professional. The Great White Way won’t intimidate this man. He’s also got one of the masters of ad-libbing in Michael McKean, who will be playing J. Edgar Hoover (who would have thought the Spinal Tap actor would be right for this role?). So if things go sideways, they’ll be able to pull it off.
The only thing that might pull me out of the play is if he suddenly tells someone, “What? Do you think I’m just some ordinary president who cowers when danger knocks? No. I’m the leader of the free world … and I am the One Who Knocks. I. Am. The. Danger!” Or if Aaron Paul bursts on to the stage and blurts: “Veto? But you’re the President, b—h!” Then there might be people there demanding some kind of re-write.
Chances are good that this will do very well, since Cranston is still an extremely hot commodity given the popularity of Breaking Bad. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him add Tony awards to his ledger.