It’s testament to Bryan Cranston’s performance as Walter White in Breaking Bad that he’s no longer known for his role as Hal in Malcolm in The Middle, which, until AMC’s meth drama came along, garnered quite the GIF-friendly cult following. Now, Cranston has to attempt a similar feat in a life Beyond Breaking Bad, and if the critics are to be believed, his Broadway debut as President Lyndon B. Johnson during his turbulent first term is a brilliant first stab at moving his career onto the next stage: the post-Walter White years.

Bryan CranstonBryan Cranston Got A Standing Ovation on 'Broadway'

“Cranston, fresh off his triumph as a drug kingpin in "Breaking Bad," shows what he can do in a Broadway debut, and it's astonishing. He looks nothing like Johnson, but no matter: Cranston, with his hair slicked back, his pants hiked up and in a pair of thick black glasses, stretches his rubbery face into a near-constant Johnson scowl and makes that good ol' boy accent run riot,” wrote Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press.

“The play might be a star vehicle but its star delivers. It’s thrilling to watch Cranston go from his default, comic stance of forward-thrust hips and slumped shoulders, to fearsome, chest-puffed, confrontation,” says Hermione Hoby in her review for The Telegraph. Hoby isn’t equally doting of the play as a whole, however, saying it “falls short” and awarding it 3/5 stars.

Bryan CranstonBryan Cranston Stars as Lyndon B. Johnson

“Strutting gut-first and affecting a gruff Southern drawl, the leading man delivers the emphatic, crowd-pleasing performance that the play, and Bill Rauch's vigorous direction, require, while also making Johnson affecting as a flesh-and-blood human being,” says Elysa Gardener for USA Today.

While Cranston’s performance has been lauded left, right and centre, the play as an entire piece didn’t receive such unanimous praise. It’s not often you get to see a leading man so on top of his game, though, and it appears as though fraught father, drug lynchpin and manipulative politician is a career path forged first by the man reinvents himself with expert skill.