City Center Encores! presents ASSASSINS by Stephen Sondheim & John Weidman - Will's New York Nite Life
City Center Encores! presents ASSASSINS by Stephen Sondheim & John Weidman
City Center Encores! presents Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins”
131 W 55th St., CityTix (212) 581-1212
Wednesday July 12 through Saturday July 15
Stephen Sondheim wrote one show about cannibalism (Sweeney Todd) and another that climaxes in the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Pacific Overtures). Yet his most disturbing work is easily Assassins, a bone-chilling look into the souls of those who tried to kill a United States President. Set in a revue format, rather than a conventional narrative, this innovative work is only rarely staged - and it’s not hard to see why. This much anticipated production stars Shuler Hensley (who was so effective in the recent Encores productions of The Most Happy Fella and Fiorello!) and Steven Pasquale (well known from TV’s Rescue Me but also one of the best baritones on the contemporary Broadway scene). That John Weidman’s book and Mr. Sondheim’s words and music sometimes make the likes of John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald seem something like sympathetic only makes the work even more unsettling. Assassins is no less moving today than it was when first staged in 1990, and It’s hard to imagine a political era when this work isn’t both extremely relevant and unrelentingly controversial. Not exactly musical comedy, but absolutely riveting theater.
Author: Will Friedwald
Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL & VANITY FAIR, and reviews current shows for THE OBSERVER and THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of eight books including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.
SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)