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  • Writer's pictureladiesvoices

*Assassins,* 7/13/17

Susan, Richard, John, David, and I saw *Assassins* at City Center on 7/12/17. Actually, it was Susan and I, and Richard, John, and David. That might sound like an arbitrary distinction, but please allow me to explain: Susan and I bought our tickets months ago, Richard didn't think the show sounded like something interested him. But then John and David asked if he wanted to see it, and he said yes. So the three of them sat elsewhere. Good thing, because Susan and I loved the show, and the three of them didn't like it very much at all!

It's a Sondheim musical that first played off Broadway in 1990 (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman). It opened at the start of the Gulf War and the producers decided it would be a flop on Broadway, so it didn't make the transfer. It finally did play Broadway (with Neil Patrick Harris as The Balladeer and Oswald) in 2004, where it was a success and picked up a couple Tonys. It's the story of various presidential assassins and would-be assassins (may I call them <<assassins manqué?>>), back to John Wilkes Booth. Let me give you a guided tour:

John Wilkes Booth: shot and killed Abraham Lincoln, 1865.

Charles Guiteau: shot James Garfield in 1881, who died two months later from infection (Richard tells me it's because his doctor kept prodding at the wound and spreading the infection - - the poor guy died of sepsis, which is no one's idea of a good time).

Leon Czolgosz: shot and killed William McKinley, 1901.

Giuseppe Zangara: attempted assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933. I'd never heard of that guy or the assassination attempt.

Lee Harvey Oswald: shot and Killed John F. Kennedy, 1963.

Samuel Byck: planned to hijack an airliner and crash it into the White House to kill Richard Nixon, 1974. Another one I'd never heard of, that guy sounds like a real wacko (also a moron).

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme: attempted assassination of Gerald Ford, 1975.

Sara Jane Moore: attempted assassination of Gerald Ford, 1975, 17 days after Fromme's attempt.