WARWICK, RI — The Gamm theater’s production of Assassins, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s revue-style musical examining the motives of notorious Americans who took aim at the president of the United States and their take on the American Dream, opens March 5.
Daringly original and darkly comic, Assassins is an exploration of the nation’s fixation on celebrity and its potentially dangerous consequences.
Against a carnival setting, Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella and Musical Director Lila Kane weave the stories of nine successful and would-be presidential assassins by way of Sondheim’s stunning music and signature satirical lyrics.
Assassins made its off-Broadway debut in 1990. Its 2004 Broadway production won five Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. The Gamm’s production is the theater’s first musical in its 35-season history.
“I often get asked, ‘Why doesn’t The Gamm ever do musicals?” said Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella. “My half-joking reply is ‘because I’m a terrible singer.’ So have no fear, I won’t be performing in this show. But I am fortunate to direct a cast filled with incredible singer-actors who can powerfully deliver Sondheim’s beautiful score and the absurdity and single-minded ferocity of the story’s stranger-than-fiction historical figures. “Assassins is the perfect play for America today,”
Estrella added. “As I write this the president not only just ordered an assassination on a political rival, but is undergoing an impeachment trial that is playing less like a sober legal proceeding and more like a run-down three-ring circus. Sondheim and Weidman wrote Assassins in 1990 and famously opened their story at a carnival. Thirty years on, it’s barely a metaphor.”
The production contains mature themes, gunshots, and depictions of violence.