Sunday, January 21, 2007

Assassins Review - Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center

This afternoon I ushered and saw Assassins - a Stephen Sondheim Musical with the book by John Weidman. It is a musical review like musical that examines the men and women who have attempted to assassinate U.S. Presidents. The style of the music varies widely, reflecting the different styles of music popular at the times of the events depicted.

The performance was very good. This musical has a difficult score, but the cast handled it beautifully. I didn't really feel like there were any weak points vocally and there were many high points, too many, in fact, to mention all of them. The set was well designed and the scenes flowed wonderfully. It had its funny moments - in fact more then I expected. The lighting at some points is a little dim, and the only other thing is some of the accents are so think they are difficult to hear. One thing I should mention is there is no intermission, and the running time was just under 2 hours.

History of the Show:
Assassins opened off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons on January 27, 1990, and played 73 performances. The cast included Victor Garber, Terrence Mann, Patrick Cassidy, Debra Monk, Greg Germann, and Annie Golden. Assassins opened in London at the Donmar Warehouse on 29 October 1992. The cast included: Henry Goodman, and, Louise Gold.

The musical was supposed to have its first Broadway production in 2001, but the show was postponed after the events of September 11, 2001.

Assassins received its Broadway debut on April 22, 2004. The Roundabout Theater Company opened the show on Broadway at Studio 54. After a limited run of 101 performances, it closed on July 18, 2004. The performance starred Neil Patrick Harris as the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald, along with Marc Kudisch in the revised role of the Proprietor; it also featured Michael Cerveris as John Wilkes Booth, for which he received a Tony Award. The production was noted for a coup de theatre in which the Zapruder film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy was projected on the t-shirt of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The 2004 production won five 2004 Tony Awards for which it was nominated (Best Revival of a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Michael Cerveris), Best Lighting Design (Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher), Best Direction of a Musical (Joe Mantello), and Best Orchestrations (Michael Starobin). In addition, Denis O'Hare was nominted for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Marc Kudisch was nominated for the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Drama Desk Award, and the show itself was nominated for the Tony award for Best Scenic Design.

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1 comment:

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Erica, Glad you had a chance to see this amazing Sondheim musical. I feel so fortunate to have seen it during its brief Broadway run a few years ago (in fact, it ranked as my favorite show of the 2003-04 theatrical season). Appreciate your review!

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