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ASSASSINS Tonight
Posted by: sergius 12:09 am EDT 07/16/17

An unusual, and unusually affecting, work of theatrical art, ASSASSINS is an epitome of one of Sondheim's favorite adages: content dictates form. Here, he supplies a score that illustrates and amplifies Weidman's themes and his splendidly written scenes. For a quickly assembled concert presentation, the show was relatively strong, mostly well sung and well acted throughout. Because of its lengthy book scenes, ASSASSINS requires more intimacy than City Center can provide; the show suffers some for being in such a large venue. Nonetheless, 27 years later it's as timely and apt as ever which is either a testament to its marvelous craft or to historical recurrences. Or both. I have always found the final scene between Oswald and Booth to be strangely moving. The moment just after Oswald shoots Kennedy, lifted by Sondheim's soaring echo of Copland, strikes a note of deep pathos that's breathtaking. Kauffman doesn't equal Mantello's great coup de theatre from the 2004 production even as she, somewhat clumsily, attempts to approximate it. But this is quibbling. ASSASSINS is beautiful and strange. Today, as an American President has apparently been installed by the disenfranchised, ASSASSINS could seem off kilter. But, since there is yet enough disenfranchisement to go around, there will always be "another national anthem."
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