DUBOIS – Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical “Assassins” will be presented at the Reitz Theater, 36 E. Scribner Ave., on Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 17-19.
In both thought-provoking and surprisingly funny ways, Assassins looks at the motivations and character of nine individuals who either attempted to or succeeded in assassinating a president. Musical offerings reflect the time period of each event, ranging from folk music of the 1860’s to grand marches of the early 1900’s to pop ballads of the early 1980’s.
Sponsored by Global Fabrication and Timberland Federal Credit Union, curtain for the show is 7 p.m. Oct. 11-12 and Oct. 17-19. There is a special matinee at 2 p.m. Oct. 13.
All tickets are $12 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 814-375-4274 or ordering online at www.reitztheater.com.
Many songs and scenes contain words taken directly from the historical figures. There is some adult language, and because of the subject matter, the show is recommended for audiences 13 and older.
“The first thing people will ask about this show is whether it glorifies the men and women who committed these terrible crimes,” said director Chris Taylor. “The answer to that question is no. You may find yourself better understanding these people, but one message of the show is that the United States is stronger than any one radical act of violence.”
One of the more interesting aspects of the show is that characters from different eras talk to each other about their issues. Sara Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme discuss their concerns before trying to shoot a bucket of chicken; Fromme derides John Hinckley about his love for Jodi Foster; and John Wilkes Booth appears in the Texas School Book Depository to try to convince Lee Harvey Oswald to bring all the assassins back to life by shooting John Kennedy.
“Most people can pick out the most common names of assassins like Booth or
Oswald,” said Taylor. “But this show fills in other blanks and sees the individuals as more than a picture and a caption in a history book.”
For instance, did you know there was an assassination attempt on Richard Nixon? Or Gerald Ford? Or Franklin D. Roosevelt? Each of these lesser-known events gets its moment in the sun during the production.
An abundance of area talent will be on display in the show. Reitz Theater regulars Dave Martin and Kris Haenes portray Leon Czolgosz and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, respectively. Brennan Bell, a music teacher at DuBois Area High School, acts as the balladeer. DAHS senior Eli Meholick plays Guiseppe Zangara, and recent graduate Will DeGolier portrays John Hinckley.
Clarion University faculty member Drew Leigh Williams is Sara Jane Moore, and Clarion graduate Bret Sloan plays Charles Guiteau. Brookville residents Chris Taylor and Joe Lehr portray John Wilkes Booth and Sam Byck, respectively. Ian Grieve assumes the role of Lee Harvey Oswald.
A group of bystanders who comment on the action from the perspective of American citizens is comprised of Mandi Bell, Maria Ginther, Ginger Lehr, Nicki Gutowski, Robert Lee Chappel and Al Hewitt. Middle school band director Joe Sensor is the musical director.