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Assassins
a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Book - John Weidman, Songs - Stephen Sondheim

COMPANY : Fabrefaction Theater Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Fabrefaction Theater [WEBSITE]
ID# 4377

SHOWING : October 19, 2012 - November 11, 2012

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This thought-provoking, haunting & alarmingly funny musical considers the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate a President of the United States. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, this Tony award winning musical is a historical account that explores the dark side of the American dream. Rated “R” for strong language and adult content.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Justin Anderson
Music Director Nick Silvestri
Sara Jane Moore Heidi Cline
John Wilkes Booth Brian Clowdus
Proprietor Shane Desmond
Giuseppe Zangara Dan Ford
Samuel Byck Michael Henry Harris
Leon Czolgosz Daniel Hilton
Squeaky Fromme Christina Hoff
Charles Guiteau Steven L. Hudson
Ensemble Matt Lewis
Ensemble Paige Mattox
Ensemble Diane Mitchell
Ensemble Jeremy Varner
John Hinckley Craig Waldrip
Balladeer Jeremy Wood
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REVIEWS

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Becoming Dated
by playgoer
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
3.5
When "Assassins" was first produced, in 1990, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 was a personal memory for many in its audience. As time has gone by, that has become less and less the case. Since the arc of the story depends on this event having great emotional impact, "Assassins" is becoming dated. It doesn't resonate as it once did.

Another factor in "Assassins'" impact is a closed-in environment in which the twisted words and actions of one assassin swirl around, infecting the next, with each new recruit breathing in murderous thoughts from his or her predecessors. Fabrefaction Theatre Company's cavernous space is hardly claustrophic, so that element of the show's impact also dissipates.

The design of the show doesn't really work. Jeffery Martin's set attempts to fill the space, with a big sideshow gallery center and big tiered platforms at either side. It's a gargantuan space that tends to diminish the scale of the humans inhabiting it. It also seems difficult to navigate, particularly in the second act when flats fall to the floor and the actors have to deal with exposed supports as they traverse the stage.

Christina Hoff's costume design is generally good, but the first costume we see is that of the Proprietor (Shane Desmond-Williams), and its peace sign-like design works with his whiteface and unkempt beard to make him look like a performer who belongs in "Godspell." It makes for a very strange first impression.

The performances and voices of most of the actors are of sterling quality. I was most impressed by Brian Clowdus, as John Wilkes Booth, and Diane Mitchell, as the ensemble member doing the lead vocal in "Something Just Broke." There are two weak links in the cast, though -- Michael Henry Harris as Samuel Byck and Christina Hoff as Squeaky Fromme. Their singing voices are the least pleasing in the cast, but that isn't a fatal flaw, since the two characters they portray make most of their impact through their monologues. Here, although they breeze through their lines with energy, they don't seem to have connected to the inner lives of their characters. They should be mesmerizing, and they aren't.

Director Justin Anderson hasn't created a truly fulfilling production. Music Director Nick Silvestri makes the songs sound good, but the somewhat murky lighting of Kevin Frazier and minimal choreography of Becca Potter don't add much visual excitement. There are a couple of arresting visual moments, but they are isolated. A tighter production in a smaller space would have been much more effective.
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