“Murder is a tawdry little crime. But when a president gets killed, when Julius Caesar got killed… he gets assassinated.”
A man sits in a storeroom on the sixth floor of a Book Depository in Texas in 1963, waiting for John F Kennedy’s motorcade to pass below. He rests his finger on the trigger, ready to join a line of men and women who have shot their way into the history books.
Full casting has been announced for The Watermill Theatre’s / Nottingham Playhouse forthcoming coproduction of Assassins Stephen Sondheim’s multi-Tony award-winning razor-sharp musical is a satirical and stylish look at why individuals reach for a gun when they feel their voice can’t be heard.
From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, taking us on a roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to perform harrowing acts. Assassins is a musical about the power of the President, the lure of celebrity and the failure of the American Dream.
The show is directed by Bill Buckhurst, whose previous work includes his phenomenally successful multiaward winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which began life at Tooting Arts Club, subsequently transferred to the West End and then went on to New York where it received a rapturous reception. Last autumn he won universal acclaim at Nottingham Playhouse for his production of Coleman and Field’s Sweet Charity, which starred Rebecca Trehearn, who herself is currently starring in Kiss Me, Kate at The Watermill Theatre. In 2016 Buckhurst received rave reviews for his production of Rufus Norris’s Sleeping Beauty at The Watermill Theatre.
Assassins will star Alex Mugnaioni (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – West End/tour, Twelfth Night and The Taming of The Shrew – Shakespeare’s Globe) as John Wilkes Booth, Peter Dukes (Brief Encounter – West End / Kneehigh, She Loves Me – Menier Chocolate Factory) as Leon Czolgosz, Evelyn Hoskins (Cruel Intentions – Bill Kenwright / Edinburgh Fringe, Mayfly – Orange Tree Theatre) as Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme and Jack Quarton (Wonderland – Nottingham Playhouse, Great Expectations – Derby Theatre) as John Hinckley. Also starring are Ned Rudkins-Stow (Robin Hood – Watermill Theatre, Twelfth Night – Wilton’s Music Hall as Lee Harvey Oswald, Joey Hickman (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Southwark Playhouse, A Midsummer Nights Dream – Watermill Theatre) as The Proprietor and Phoebe Fildes (A Woman of No Importance – West End, A Little Night Music – The Watermill Theatre) as Emma Goldman. Eddie Elliott (Spamilton – Menier Chocolate Factory, Motown the Musical – West End) is cast as Charles Guiteau, Lillie Flynn (Twelfth Night – Wilton’s Music Hall, Sunny Afternoon – West End) as the Balladeer, Sara Poyzer (Billy Elliot – West End, Mama Mia – West End) as Sara Jane Moore, Steve Simmonds (Tommy – New Wolsey / Ramps on the Moon, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui – West End / Chichester Festival Theatre) as Samuel Byck and Zheng Xi Yong (Miss Saigon – UK & International Tour) as Giuseppe Zangara. The ensemble will be made up of Grace Lancaster, Matthew James Hinchliffe and Simon Oskarsson.
Assassins will be performed at The Watermill Theatre between Thursday 26 September and Saturday 26 October. Performances at Nottingham Playhouse run Wednesday 30 October – Saturday 16 November.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Assassins is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert Jr
Original orchestrations by Michael Starobin
Playwrights Horizons Inc., New York City, produced Assassins off-Broadway in 1990
First Broadway production, 2004, Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Artistic Director
Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited
Director Bill Buckhurst
Designer Simon Kenny
Musical Supervisor and Arrangements Catherine Jayes
Associate Director and Choreographer Georgina Lamb
Lighting Designer Ben Ormerod,
Sound Designer Chris Full