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Alley Theatre: The Great Society Opening Night



Houston’s Alley Theatre celebrated the beginning of the Hubbard Theatre season on January 31, 2018 with the opening night of Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society. The play, a co-production with Dallas Theater Center, continues where last season left off with Schenkkan’s Tony-award winning, All the Way. That play tells the story of the tumultuous start to Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

LBJ’s journey continues in The Great Society. Covering the years 1965 to 1968, LBJ struggles to fight a war on poverty and deal with the Vietnam War, which is spinning out of control. Besieged by his political opponents, Johnson marshals all his resources as the country descends into chaos over Viet Nam and the backlash against civil rights. The play’s triumphant opening comes after the devastation of the Neuhaus Theatre during Hurricane Harvey.

Prior to the show, nearly 200 Alley Theatre CenterStage donors and guests attended the opening night dinner, which was held at the Alley Theatre itself. Among the guests were The Great Society’s author, Robert Schenkkan; Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director, Kevin Moriarty, who also directed the play; Alley Board President, Butch Mach; former Houston Mayor Bill White; Margaret Alkek Williams; Lynn Wyatt; and Carol and Michael Linn.

Catered by City Kitchen, the seated Texas-themed dinner featured bourbon-glazed New York striploin; grilled chicken breast with pickled vegetables; a special Hill Country salad sporting black-eyed peas; an homage to LBJ with Lady Bird Johnson’s cheese wafers; and for dessert, a chocolate pecan tart.

Guests were welcomed to the opening night celebration by Alley Theatre Managing Director, Dean Gladden. His enthusiastic remarks reflected on the timely relevance of the play and his appreciation for everyone’s tremendous support, especially through the recent trying times. Butch Mach, who also spoke, thanked those in attendance for all their help and introduced Keven Moriarty. Moriarty delivered his thoughts on returning to Alley Theatre and its collaboration with Dallas Theater Centre in producing the opening night play.

After the opening, Dean Gladden and Kevin Moriarty presented a Champaign toast. It was made all the more celebratory by being given in the newly restored Neuhaus Theatre lobby. Afterward, guests had the honor of mingling with the cast.

The Great Society will run through to February 18, 2018 at the Hubbard Theatre. For more information, please visit

Guests: Dean and Jane Gladden, Robert Schenkkan, Kevin Moriarty, Margaret Alkek Williams, Lynn Wyatt, Carmen and Butch Mach, former Mayor Bill White and Andrea White, Carol and Michael Linn, Beth Madison, Kelly Somoza, Nancy McGregor, and Suzan and Julius Glickman.

About Alley Theater

One of the country’s leading nonprofit theatres, the Alley Theatre is a nationally recognized performing arts company. Led by Artistic Director, Gregory Boyd and Managing Director, Dean R. Gladden, the Alley is home to a resident company of actors. Its diverse repertoire features innovative productions of the classics, neglected modern plays, and premieres. Alley All New, the initiative to commission and develop new works year round, features the Alley All New Festival, which presents workshops and readings of new plays and musicals in process every season. A recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Alley has taken productions to Broadway; various American cities; and international cities, including Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg throughout its 70-year history.

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