Breaking Bad, the musical? No. Not yet, anyways, though plenty of strange shows have hit Broadway in the past several years. Breaking Bad is no more; and what will become of Heisenberg? It has been recently released that co-star, Aaron Paul will be starring in a new film called Need for Speed, and the young actor has another six 2014-2015 projects already listed on his IMDB page. Though leading actor Bryan Cranston has also been in demand (with several films on the horizon) he is taking on a new beast that may be even scarier than the drug dealers on Breaking Bad: Broadway. From Heisenberg to Lyndon B. Johnson, today is Cranston’s Broadway debut in All the Way, playing at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Cranston’s character in All the Way should be right up his alley after his work on Breaking Bad. Cranston is going from one complicated character to another. Breaking Bad’s Walter White was misunderstood and conflicted, which has aptly provided training exactly the right training to help transform Cranston into Lyndon B. Johnson, another complicated figure. LBJ was reportedly an insecure bully, while able to maintain a great deal of charm. If anyone can pull of a character that complex, it is definitely Bryan Cranston.
Cranston’s career has been blooming for the past few years and shows no sign of settling down. In 2013, the Breaking Bad star received one of his own on the Hollywood walk of fame, and perhaps next he will be honored by having his headshot placed on the wall of Sardi’s with the other Broadway greats. Cranston’s Broadway debut has already been kicked off with a current rite of passage: his caricature was drawn by Broadway.com resident artist, Justin “Squigs” Robertson, who currently captures the likenesses of the biggest stars on Broadway with his unique style.
Cranston has spoken excitedly about his Broadway debut, remarking that he picked a great play to start with- a solidly written story with intriguing characters. Should Cranton’s show do poorly, there is no financial threat to the actor; after several years playing a lead character on a series, Cranston never “has” to work again. This is an exciting time in an actors career- no push to perform any script that is not up to par. This is when the world will likely see Cranston’s best work, whether it is onstage or onscreen. And will the star fall in love with Broadway? That remains to be seen.
More and more TV and film stars seem to be popping up on Broadway. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe starred in Equus, and Ferris Bueller star Matthew Broderick starred in The Producers (both on screen and in NYC). Now “Mr. White” is taking on “the great white way” with his Broadway debut in All the Way. Before he had the opportunity to play Mr. White (or his dealer name, “Heisenberg”) on Breaking Bad, Cranston spent decades building his resume, and has had credits rolling in regularly since the 1980s. But for those out in Hollywood pounding the pavement, Cranston was no overnight success, and his most well-known roles did not come until after he had spent a few decades in the business. Outside of Breaking Bad, Cranston is best known for playing Hal on Malcolm in the Middle. Even between these two roles, Cranston has proven himself to be a diverse actor, able to handle just about anything.
Opinion by Bonnie Sludikoff