Classic Stage Company was just two weeks into rehearsals for its highly anticipated off-Broadway production of Assassins when New York’s performance venues shut down on March 12th, 2020. Now, a year later, they’re announcing a star-studded virtual event to benefit the vital Manhattan theater institution.
On April 15th, CSC presents Tell the Story: Celebrating Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, which will include performances and conversations exploring the legacy of the musical, including a rare conversation with Sondheim and Weidman about the enduring relevance of the work.
Assassins is Sondheim’s hot-button show about the men and women who have successfully or unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate United States presidents. It rarely receives professional productions — the 2004 Broadway iteration had Neil Patrick Harris playing Lee Harvey Oswald and Denis O’Hare as Charles Guiteau (the oddball who killed President Garfield) — since it can spark plenty of controversy. It is a dark musical that explores America’s obsession with fame and includes a hanging, an electrocution, and John Hinckley singing a love song to Jodi Foster while shooting at Ronald Reagan. So last year’s production directed by Tony-winning John Doyle (who last directed Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures at CSC in 2017) was going to be a major event.