Big news for the American Repertory Theater: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has announced a grant of $1 million to the Cambridge theater. The ART was one of five arts organizations nationwide to receive a grant designed to recognize innovation and help groups adapt to changing conditions.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for this program,” the ART’s artistic director Diane Paulus and managing director William Russo said in a joint statement. “As a community we must respond to the changing conditions in the industry and investigate new artistic and managerial models that will foster a healthy cultural ecology,” Paulus added. The only other arts organization to receive a $1 million grant was the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, while the others got smaller sums.
Speaking of which — and confirming something we already knew — the ART and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced Tuesday that their production of “All the Way,” Robert Schenkkan’s play starring Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon B. Johnson, is headed to Broadway. The show, which won raves during its recent run at the ART, will play at the Neil Simon Theatre, with previews to begin Feb. 10 and opening night slated for March 6. Directed by Bill Rauch, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “All the Way” gives the audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the first year of LBJ’s presidency, and his efforts to pass a civil rights bill.
Cranston, an Emmy winner for his role on “Breaking Bad,” plays Johnson, while an ensemble cast — including Michael McKean and Brandon J. Dirden — will play J. Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King Jr., Hubert Humphrey, Robert McNamara, Coretta Scott King, Lady Bird Johnson, and George Wallace, among others. “All the Way” is the most recent in a series of ART productions that have headed to Broadway. A revival of Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie,” featuring stars Cherry Jones, Zachary Quinto, and Celia Keenan-Bolger and helmed by John Tiffany, ran earlier this year at the ART before becoming a hit on Broadway. Paulus’s revivals of the musicals “Pippin” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” were also staged at the ART before going on to win Tony Awards in New York. And a workshop production of the musical “Once” that Tiffany directed at the Cambridge theater preceded the show’s Tony-winning run on Broadway.