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The Great Society
Event Calendar

The Great Society

By Robert Schenkkan
Directed by Kyle Donnelly 

February 2 — March 11, 2018
Fichandler Stage

Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award-winning play All the Way set the stage for President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s sudden ascent to the White House. In its D.C. premiere, The Great Society brings the second half of Schenkkan’s epic story to its harrowing conclusion. As America is divided by civil rights protests and the anguish of the Vietnam War, LBJ struggles to maintain his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., keep his political opponents in check and complete a raft of impossibly ambitious social policy projects. Jack Willis reprises his “stunning performance” (Broadway World) in this political thrill ride that explores the America of our past to better understand the America of today.

The Great Society is generously sponsored by Decker Anstrom and Sherry Hiemstra and
the David Bruce Smith Foundation.


JACK WILLIS (President Lyndon Baines Johnson)’s Arena Stage credits include The Little Foxes, All the Way, Sweat, Mother Courage and Her Children, Book of Days, Of Mice and Men and Agamemnon and His Daughters. Broadway credits include Julius Caesar, The Crucible, Art and The Old Neighborhood. Off-Broadway credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, World of Mirth, The Iphigenia Cycle and Valhalla. He has appeared in more than 200 productions worldwide and been a company member at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company and Dallas Theater Center. Film/TV credits include Toy Story 3, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Cradle Will Rock, The Out-of-Towners, Love Hurts, I Come in Peace, Problem Child, Law & Order, Ed and Dallas.

BOWMAN WRIGHT (Martin Luther King, Jr.) was last seen at Arena Stage as Martin Luther King, Jr. in All The Way and The Mountaintop and King in King Hedley II. Theater credits include Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre Company); TogDog/UnderDog (Marin Theatre Company); A Raisin in the Sun (Geva Theatre Center); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Jolla Playhouse); The Dreamer Examines His Pillow (Shakespeare & Company); The Piano Lesson (Virginia Stage); Since Africa and A House with No Walls (Interact Theatre); Fences (Actors Theatre of Louisville); and Death and the King’s Horsemen (Lantern Theatre). Films credits include Sight (Lionsgate Productions) and Vinson (Sainvil Productions). TV credits include Person of Interest, Blue Bloods and Elementary. Bowman is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego.

Additional casting to be announced at a later date.


ROBERT SCHENKKAN (Playwright)’s plays include All the Way (Tony Award), The Great Society, The Kentucky Cycle (Pulitzer Prize), Hanussen, Shadow Play, Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates, By the Rivers of Babylon, Handler, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune, Heaven on Earth, Tachinoki, Final Passages, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Dream Thief, A Single Shard and The Twelve. His newest play, Building the Wall, has enjoyed an unprecedented rollout in theaters across the country (including Forum Theatre in D.C.) and Europe; it is published by Skyhorse Press. Film credits include Hacksaw Ridge (six Academy Award nominations) and The Quiet American. TV credits include All the Way (eight Emmy nominations), The Pacific (25 Emmy nominations and a WGA Award), The Andromeda Strain, Crazy Horse and Spartacus.

KYLE DONNELLY (Director)’s Arena Stage credits include The Little Foxes; All the Way; Other Desert Cities; Ah, Wilderness!; Well; The Women; Born Yesterday; She Loves Me; Polk County (Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical); Dancing at Lughnasa (Helen Hayes Award for Best Production); Misalliance; Tom Walker; Shakespeare in Hollywood; Lovers and Executioners; Summer and Smoke; and School for Wives while associate artistic director. Additional credits for Seattle Repertory, Steppenwolf, Huntington, La Jolla, Goodman, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkeley Repertory, McCarter, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Cape Cod Theatre Project, The Old Globe, American Conservatory Theater, Studio Theatre, Humana Festival and Alliance Theatre, and Give Me Your Answer, Do! (Roundabout). Awards include TCG’s Alan Schneider Director Award. Kyle is a faculty member of the M.F.A. actor training program at the University of California, San Diego.


Screening of All the Way – Wednesday, January 10 at 7 p.m.

The DC Public Library Southwest Branch will be screening the HBO Film All the Way, based on the play by Robert Schenkkan. If you enjoyed Arena’s production last season, or want more before seeing the sequel, The Great Society, this season, please join us. Learn More

Post-Show Discussions

February 14, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.
February 27, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
February 28, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.
March 6, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.
March 8, 2018 – 8:00 p.m.


Audio Described

February 17, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.

Open Captioned

February 28, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
March 1, 2018 – 8:00 p.m.
March 10, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.


The Great Society