Everybody’s Got The Right…
Murder. Greed. Personal Vendetta. Vengeance. Assassination. Any way you look at it, history is what it is. When the country was still in its infancy stages, there were a handful of individuals who took it upon themselves to change the world, or in some cases, ATTEMPT to change it. For reasons of their own (some of which were never known) a few average and troubled individuals took matters into their own hands to try and assassinate the President of the United States. This is their story.
Assassins, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman and based on the concept of Charles Gilbert, Jr., is just what the historian ordered. Set in a dilapidated carnival, the proprietor of the shooting gallery beckons “wanna-be game changers” to Shoot the President and Win A Prize. The carnival goers just happen to be history’s venomous cast of characters who have taken that leap to bring down the Oval Office (Leon Czolgosz, John Hinckley, Charles Guiteau, Giuseppe Zangara, Samuel Byck, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Sara Jane Moore, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald). This musical is their chance to tell their story to a captive audience…no judges, no consequences, no fear.
Bringing this story to the stage was a feat on the part of the creative staff. Would the world be ready for such a musical? Stephen Sondheim expected backlash from the public due to such content. Sondheim himself said “There are always people who think that certain subjects are not right for musicals…[w]e’re not going to apologize for dealing with such a volatile subject. Nowadays, virtually everything goes,” he told The New York Times. Debuting Off-Broadway on December 18, 1990 and only running for 73 performances, the show seemed to be doomed from the start. It would take 24 years for the musical to get the necessary glory.
Opening on Broadway for the first time since its inaugural inception, the production has garnered the top honors at the Tony Awards in 2004 taking home trophies for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Featured Actor – Michael Cerveris, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction of a Musical (Joe Mantello), Best Orchestrations and Best Scenic Design. With all those accolades on its musical resume, it has now found a new following in the theatre community. Filled with thought-provoking songs, a brilliant storyline and haunting lyrics, Assassins grabs the audiences by the throat and does not let go…until the next song. Whether you are a classically trained singer, a follower of Sondheim or a lover of American History, Assassins will stir up a new passion to your life complete with chilling lyrics and a commanding score to elevate it to the top of your favorite Broadway Musical list. Just remember…everybody’s the right…to be different.