"...It was a boner only a real teenager could make. Back when Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan was 16, his school decided to honor his uncle, Robert Schenkkan, on the Austin High alumni Wall of Fame..."
"...A thaw has begun in recent years, with the HBO film The Path to War, focusing on Johnson and Vietnam, and theatrical works such as Michael Murphy's The Conscientious Objector, about LBJ and Martin Luther King Jr.; Jeffrey Hatcher's All the Way With LBJ, about Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and the '68 Democratic convention; and the Lewis Flinn/Joe Sutton musical The Winner, based on LBJ's contentious 1948 Senate campaign. But with Robert Schenkkan's All the Way, the ice shatters..."
"...The unlikely winning hand held by Johnson in the prior play was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that landmark piece of legislation banning racial segregation and discrimination against minorities which ought to have suffered the same fate as every other civil rights bill since Reconstruction, stymied by the coalition of segregationist Dixiecrats in Congress. But, as grippingly dramatized by playwright Robert Schenkkan, LBJ marshaled all his skills at horse-trading and arm-twisting, his matchless command of Senate rules, and his newfound authority as President to secure the votes for the act's passage..."
"...When you're a university theatre department with an alumnus who has a Pulitzer Prize in drama, it's only natural that you'd want to produce one of his plays, right? And beyond merely mounting one, you'd be really tickled to give one its first production anywhere. So it is with the UT Department of Theatre and Dance, which is over the moon about its premiere of a new script by 1975 grad Robert Schenkkan...."
"...In two years, Robert Schenkkan's LBJ drama All the Way premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; moved to Broadway with Bryan Cranston starring; broke box-office records and won a slew of awards, including two Tonys; and was picked up by HBO for a film version. Now a sequel, The Great Society, is up and running at OSF...."
"...The only thing about All the Way's life after OSF that seemed certain – indeed, seemed downright inevitable – was that it would be produced in Austin. After all, the playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan, grew up here and graduated from the University of Texas..."
"...In that context, playwright Robert Schenkkan has rushed to stage a script that the UT Department of Theatre & Dance promotes as having been written in "'a white heat' fury just before the November 2016 election." Based on some references, Schenkkan appears to have touched up the script since, but even so, it's dizzying to watch the play and balance its already dated interpretation of U.S. politics against today's interpretations, in turn against projections for what headlines will emerge next week...."
"...The latter scenes are rendered powerfully here through the smart script by Robert Schenkkan and Zach's remarkable ensemble of actors. With such great collective work, one almost hates to elevate any performance above the others, but Michelle Alexander's voice in the several songs is a thing of beauty and power...."
"...In his new play All the Way, Robert Schenkkan draws on his time growing up in the Hill Country and his family connection to LBJ to bring the 36th President of the U.S. to life onstage..."
"...Bryan Cranston had the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum all to himself. The Breaking Bad star, preparing to play Lyndon Johnson in a production of Robert Schenkkan's award-winning drama All the Way at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., had come to research the former commander-in-chief, and the staff had given him access to the building after hours..."
"...As it's only the second of the epic stage dramas of the Eighties and Nineties -- Nicholas Nickleby, The Mahabarata, Angels in America, The Kentucky Cycle, marathon presentations of Shakespeare's histories -- to be mounted in Austin (Angels was first), that alone makes the arrival of The Kentucky Cycle noteworthy. But the production has a deeper connection locally: playwright Robert Schenkkan, who grew up in Austin and is a graduate of Austin High and UT-Austin..."
"...Robert Schenkkan had no time to waste. The playwright couldn't afford the years it took to craft his Pulitzer Prize winner, The Kentucky Cycle, or the Tony Award-winning All the Way or its sequel, The Great Society..."
"...When Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch began a new program in which contemporary playwrights would explore moments of change in American history, he knew he wanted Robert Schenkkan on board. In fact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Kentucky Cycle was the first writer he approached..."
"...So it is with Robert Schenkkan's The Kentucky Cycle, an epic theatrical work -- winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 -- which takes the audience on a phenomenal American journey from the eve of the Revolutionary War to the economic downtimes of the 1970s. The two-part opus is composed of nine short plays marking major turning points in the multigenerational tale of three families tied by experience to a parcel of land in southeastern Kentucky...."
"...That handy phrase may well be the key to Robert Schenkkan's entertaining new comedy, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune. For starters, it creates the opening through which Manny can momentarily evade disaster, persuading whoever's at odds with him that he has at hand the very thing they want if they'll grant him a bit more time say, a week to secure it..."
"...Asked which Hollywood screwball comedies influenced or inspired The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune or that he just liked, Robert Schenkkan listed the following:..."
"...(short for Orange County). And I'm not just saying that because he's a local boy (he graduated from Austin High in 1996 as Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan)..."
"...The biographical drama LBJ treads much of the territory Robert Schenkkan’s expertly crafted stage play All the Way traversed in chronicling the early years of the Johnson presidency. Like the Tony Award-winning production (subsequently filmed as an HBO movie), it spends much of its time focused on the 36th president’s risky decision to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an act of heresy in the eyes of Southern congressmen who mistakenly presumed him as their philosophical (read: racist) brethren, given his Texas roots..."
"...Based in part on books by Leckie and Sledge (Helmet for My Pillow and With the Old Breed, respectively) as well as on interviews with veterans, The Pacific is written and directed by a talented stable of writers and directors, including Graham Yost (Band of Brothers), George Pelecanos (The Wire), and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Kentucky Cycle, Robert Schenkkan, among others. Due to the rotating crew, the episodes are not uniformly strong, but the performances are, with Seda and Badge Dale giving particularly nuanced performances...."
"...That gulf between this land's ideals and its realities is the foundation of Robert Schenkkan's Tony Award-winning All the Way, its truth underscored graphically in Zach Theatre's production by the massive mural backing Cliff Simon's set: the iconic image of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, emblazoned with the phrase "All men are created equal" and flanked by portraits of men, women, and children who, because their skin is not the same shade as the Founders', weren't – and aren't – treated equally. That mural looms insistently over the action, much as Lyndon Johnson does over the politicos from whom he wants something, and there's no escaping the message..."