What's really puzzling about Assassins is not that it flopped so spectacularly, but that it actually managed to slip through the commercial and ideological net and make it to off-Broadway at all. In this subversive tale of the 13 displaced patriots who took it upon themselves to kill the president, Sondheim has found a powerful, scathing and deliciously melodic antidote to the American Dream. John Wilkes Boothe opens the proceedings with a tirade against the dictatorial Lincoln and we end on the most notorious assassin of them all, Lee Harvey Oswald, in full-throated ease at the Dallas Book Depositary. Along the way we encounter the most bizarre attempt: drifter Samuel Byck's plan to wipe out Nixon by hijacking a jetliner and crashing it into the White House. Sondheim's verbal dexterity and musical prowess shine in a shoestring, but very presentable production by Northern Theatre Co.
John O'MahonyReuse content