Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston to make Broadway debut

Bryan Cranston Cranston said he tried to keep an open mind as he researched the role of the 36th US president President Lyndon B Johnson

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Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston is to make his Broadway debut playing US President Lyndon B Johnson in historical drama All the Way.

The play, by Robert Schenkkan, chronicles the first year of Johnson's presidency following the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963.

Three-time Emmy winner Cranston said he "wanted to wait for something that had meaning, that really had resonance".

The play opens at the Neil Simon Theatre on 6 March.

"There are two things you want in an actor playing LBJ. You want someone who is so charismatic and so charming, and you want somebody who is absolutely terrifying. And in Bryan Cranston we have both," Schenkkan said.

"The role is the size of Lear," added Schenkkan, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for The Kentucky Cycle. "He is on stage virtually the entire time."

'Ruthlessness'

All the Way premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 - with Cranston stepping into the lead role for the first time last September at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The actor played to packed houses and earned solid reviews during a sell-out run.

"Mr Cranston's Johnson glitters with an almost salacious ruthlessness when he senses a chance to do a little arm-twisting to lock down another vote for a bill he wants passed," wrote Christopher Isherwood in the New York Times last year.

The play focuses on two parallel storylines: Johnson's battle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and his campaign for re-election.

"I want to be all of him, his highs, his lows, his good, his bad, and to present it honestly," said Cranston, speaking in an interview about the presidential role.

Cranston heads an ensemble cast of 20 actors who take on multiple roles in the play, which is directed by Bill Rauch.

Earlier this week, the 57-year-old star won a Screen Actors Guild award for his portrayal of Walter White, the chemistry teacher-turned-drug lord, in the final series of Breaking Bad.

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