Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Assassins: Killer Show

By • Mar 19th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Kensington Arts Theatre’s performance of Assassins [MP3 4:18 4MB].

Laura: We saw the Kensington Arts Theatre‘s performance of Assassins tonight in Maryland.

Mike: Assassins is a Stephen Sondheim musical. It is the story of various presidential assassins throughout the years and it brings all the assassins and would-be assassins together into an interesting and different show. I don’t know how I feel about it. It was kind of strange.

Laura: I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it either.

Mike: Based on the description it was a show that I was a little curious about, but I didn’t know what to expect. The people I’ve talked to about it have asked if it was a murder mystery or a comedy or what is it? It was serious. It was talking about your value in life and how you’re going to be remembered when you die. What are your goals for doing things. It was good and interesting. They did a really good job with it.

Laura: I would agree.

Mike: It’s not a show you get pulled into.

Laura: It is thought provoking. I enjoyed the show. I thought the singing was good and everything. The underlying theme of the show and some of the songs they sang seemed to talk about it’s ok to be happy and do what you want no matter the cost. That’s what these people that did the assassinations or attempted assassinations did. It ended up not working the way they wanted because they all either got hung, electrocuted, killed, or are in prison for the rest of their lives.

Mike: Isn’t that the whole purpose of the show, to say that living for yourself and for what you think is right isn’t enough.

Laura: I guess that is the point. That is true.

Mike: Some of the assassins were deluded. They did think, “I was doing it for the greater good.” Yes the assassins do live on. We know their names. Some of them I have never heard before. Julius Caesar/Brutus. 2000 years later you know Brutus’ name, but knowing the name is not knowing the person. That’s what they’re saying.

Laura: That is true.

Mike: So I think it’s an interesting show, it will definitely raise questions. The singing and the performance itself was really enjoyable. The house was packed. They had to set out extra seats. They may have broken some fire rules because they had to use the aisles. So if you want to see this show you definitely need to call ahead and pay in advance. Go to the Kensington Arts Theatre website:

Sam Ludwig (John Hinkley), Stephen Yednock (Guiseppe Zangara), Andrea Spitz Greenleaf (Sara Jane Moore), Andy Izquierdo (Balladeer), Diego Prieto (John Wilkes Booth), Casey Jones (Samuel Byck), Jaclyn Young (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), Jeff Breslow (Charles Guiteau), Michael Nansel (Leon Czolgosz)

Laura: I really liked the use of the lighting. The way the spotlight moved in on one person and then you had the color changes to red representing death.

Mike: They had a lot of bright lighting and then harsh lighting at points. They had some softer wider lights. The lighting was a big part of this show. The set was simple. A set of stairs and a platform in the back. The orchestra was at the very top level almost off the back of the stage.

Laura: That was the first time I have seen them up and back like that.

Mike: I’ve seen orchestras on stage before, or off to one side or in an orchestra pit. This was different having them up high like that. But it worked out well.

Laura: I enjoyed their singing also. The character who played the Baladeer and then later Oswald was played by Andy Izquierdo has a really nice voice.

Mike: He’s really good. We saw him in Noises Off at The Arlington Players. He did a good job there and he did a really good job tonight.

Laura: Some of the songs I felt, got muddy when the ensemble came out and joined the main characters. A lot of the sound was muddy. I think the orchestra was too loud. It was a large room with a really high ceiling and a lot of the sound went up and disappeared.

Mike: Assassins is playing at the Kensington Arts Theater. If you’ve seen the show or have comments, feel free to leave notes on our website: The show is plaing through April 1 at the Kensington Town Center in Kensington, Maryland.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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