Hey Hey LBJ Just Performed in Vietnam
-- Next Up SF Fringe, N.Y., Australia
David Kleinberg’s solo theater work, “Hey, Hey, LBJ!” – a powerful drama on the most divisive foreign war in America’s history – can be seen September at the Exit Theater as part of the S.F. Fringe Festival, then at New York's United Solo in October and Sydney, Australia in November. (See full LBJ schedule below).
Kleinberg completed a nine-show run at the prestigious Marsh Theater in San Francisco last year, performed the work in at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (www.lbjinvietnam.com) in April on his first trip back in 50 years, and just finished 6 shows at the S.F. International Arts Festival at Fort Mason.
"Hey, Hey, LBJ!" Reviews
* “Hey, Hey, LBJ! is as polished and moving a piece of theater as the Capital Fringe is likely to see (out of 119 shows).” -- Washingston Post
* “Fantastic . . . powerful and moving . . . full house . . . standing applause . . . must see.” -- Ex-Rolling Stone senior writer Mike Goldberg
* "Kleinberg's "lack of bravado, genuine disgust with the absurdity of war, and unabashedly deep love for his comrades carry the day . . . A powerful story . . ." -- New Orleans Advocate
* "David Kleinberg's 'Hey, Hey LBJ' is . . . as strong as . . . shows we've seen on larger (Bay Area) stages." -- SF Theater Blog
* “The show brought me to tears, and I rarely ever cry when reviewing a show.” -- Marc Gonzalez, Fresno Bee
The work — written and performed by Kleinberg, directed by Mark Kenward and developed with Marsh artistic director David Ford — traces Kleinberg’s year as a combat correspondent for the army’s 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, Vietnam. Kleinberg supports the war when he arrives but begins to have doubts as the year unfolds. In the end, Kleinberg is on R&R partying in Bangkok while his public information office buddies are back in Vietnam in a bunker under heavy rocket attack.
“It was interesting because after I returned from Vietnam, I thought I might write something,” says Kleinberg who worked as an editor and writer at the San Francisco Chronicle for 34 years, the last 14 years as editor of the Sunday Datebook. So I solicited detailed manuscripts from those who survived the bunker attack. But I never did anything. Forty-seven years later I had source material to turn to.
“This is a very powerful and riveting work,” Kleinberg adds. “Even after all this time, I cried half the time I was writing this. If the piece shows anything, it clearly demonstrates how war taints just about everyone it touches.
“I suppose some people would call this an anti-war work. But I believe — as I’ve written at one point in the script– that there are just wars, but I don’t think this was one of them. And it’s very interesting that when I tell people of my generation the title of the piece, ‘Hey, Hey, LBJ’ they smile in irony, knowing very well how the rest of the street chant went.”
“Hey, Hey, LBJ!” includes video clips from the President Johnson’s “Why Vietnam” speech; Kleinberg’s 8mm film of American units destroying a Vietnamese village for no apparent reason; scenes from Bob Hope’s 1966 Christmas Eve USO tour to the Cu Chi base camp (Hope: “I just want to remind you, America’s behind you . . . 18 percent!”); CBS’ Mike Wallace at the base camp the day after the Cu Chi rocket attack to ask why the victims’ bunkers had no tops; and Kleinberg’s powerful 1968 Anti-War Speech at San Francisco’s City Hall (which later appeared in PBS’ “Berkeley in the ’60s” and PBS’ “American Experience: LBJ”).
Biography: Kleinberg initially served as a reporter in the field in Vietnam, and later edited the division newspaper. He was awarded the bronze star for his service. In civilian life, following retirement from The Chronicle, Kleinberg turned to stand-up comedy and solo theater. As a comedian, he has worked with the late Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Sinbad and Richard Lewis. This is Kleinberg’s second solo theater work after his hit ground-breaking work “The Voice.”
KLEINBERG ANTI-WAR SPEECH, CITY HALL, SAN FRANCISCO, 1968
Upcoming LBJ Schedule
S.F. FRINGE FESTIVAL
156 Eddy St, San Francisco
(1 Block from Powell St BART)
Sat Sept 10 5:30 pm
Fri Sept 16 8:30 pm
Sat Sept 17 4 pm
Thur Sept 22 8:30 pm
S.F. Fringe (Tickets)
UNITED SOLO (NEW YORK)
42nd Street Theater
October 8 4 pm
United Solo Web Site
United Solo Tickets
Broadway World Picks LBJ as 1 of 11 Shows to See Out of 120 Entrants
World Guide Names United Solo 1 of Top 10 Theater Festivals in World
Rafferty Stage, Riverside Theater
Sun Nov 13 8 pm
Benefit for Vietnam Veterans of New South Wales
Remembrance Day Weekend Performance
Spindrift Players Theater
Sun Nov 20 8 pm
Memorial Day Benefit Performance
WHERE LBJ HAS BEEN PERFORMED
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
San Francisco, Marsh Theater Run
S.F. International Arts Festival
San Geronimo, Ca
CONTACT DAVID KLEINBERG
Performance Photos of David Kleinberg in 'Hey, Hey, LBJ!'
By Stephen Somerstein
By Stephen Somerstein