The Great Society

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The Great Society

Photo credit: Evan Zimmerman

Although The Great Society is closing at the end of this month, it is well worth seeing this play which chronicles a significant past, and highlights figures who are so much a part of our American history.

The characters that inhabit The Great Society are important to remember. A follow up to his All the Way, playwright Robert Schenkkan introduces us to those individuals who shaped our country during an extremely volatile time, from 1965-1968.

The Great Society serves as a history lesson, and one that generations should know. It showcases an incredible cast, lead by Brian Cox as LBJ, Grantham Coleman as Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Thomas as Hubert Humphrey and Mark Kudisch, Bryce Pinkham and Frank Wood in various roles. In fact many in the talented cast portray numerous characters.

A word of caution, though. The play is extremely long and over-written. Clocking in at nearly 3 hours, this piece would surely be better served were it shorter and more concise, ultimately rendering it more powerful.

The producers of The Great Society have done a fine job of engaging their audiences, including placing voting booths in the vast lobby of the Vivian Beaumont Theater where you could cast your “vote” for the candidate of your choice to win the 2020 Presidential Primary.

Their website provides an educational timeline of the years represented in the play. Click on the photos and find out what those images represent.

Additionally, in The Great Society’s  final weeks, they are participating in the fabulous Broadway Bridges program, initiated by the Broadway League, offering $10 tickets to 10th graders and their teachers to see the production. Now to November 30.

Bagels and Broadway

For more theatre news, conversation and information, tune in to “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” Saturday mornings from 9-10 on WNYM radio, online, Alexa and podcast.


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at

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