Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory)

Run date: Nov 21, 2014 – Mar 7, 2015
Theater: Menier Chocolate Factory

Cast: Aaron Tveit (John WIlkes Booth), Andy Nyman (Charles Guiteau), David Roberts (Leon Gzolgosz), Melle Stewart (Emma Goldman), Stewart Clarke (Giuseppe Zangara), Jamie Parker (Lee Harvey Oswald / The Balladeer), Mike McShane (Samuel Byck), Harry Morrison (John Hinckley), Carly Bawden (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), Catherine Tate (Sara Jane Moore), Simon Lipkin (The Proprietor)

Libretti by: John Weidman
Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim
Music by: Stephen Sondheim

Directed by: Jamie Lloyd
Choreographed by: Chris Bailey

Thirteen people have tried to kill the president of the United States. Four have succeeded. These murderers and would-be murderers are generally dismissed as maniacs and misfits who have little in common with each other, and nothing in common with the rest of us. Assassins suggests otherwise…

ONE ACT REVUE

01. Everybody’s Got The Right *
02. The Ballad Of Booth *
03. How I Saved Roosevelt
04. The Gun Song *
05. The Ballad Of Czolgosz
06. Unworthy Of Your Love
07. The Ballad Of Guiteau
08. Another National Anthem *
09. November 22, 1963 *
10. Something Just Broke
11. Everybody’s Got The Right *

An asterisk (*) denotes a song featuring Aaron.

REVIEWS

“John Wilkes Booth was 27 when he shot Abraham Lincoln and, aged 31, the multi-talented Aaron Tveit, here making his London debut, is the youngest person by some margin to play the role in a major production in London or New York. This is a great gamble for both Tveit and Lloyd, akin, perhaps, to casting a 25-year-old to play the Witch in Into The Woods. It’s a clean break with the historical approach to the casting and playing of the role.

But it is a decision which works wonderfully and pays real dividends for this production. In place of the sense of gravitas and self-righteous indignation usually found in Booth, Tveit brings the arrogance and spontaneity of vain-glorious youth. He becomes the leader and inspiration of the other assassins because he was the first; it is happenstance, nothing else, which marks him out.

With perfect hair, teeth and beard, immaculate tailored clothing, impeccable speech, a twinkle in the eye and a nice line in jazz-hands and fancy footwork, Tveit’s matinee idol Booth is very much the actor, the performer, the manipulator. He sings beautifully too, all seduction and allure as he tempts both audience and fellow assassins into admiring him despite his slaying of Lincoln. This is an exciting and thoroughly realised reimagining of a great Sondheim role…

[…] In Tveit, Lipkin, Clarke and Roberts it has a quartet of genuine, remarkable stars.”
BRITISH THEATRE

“The cast is exemplary: standouts from what is a tremendous ensemble include […] bona fide Broadway golden boy Aaron Tveit [who] exudes charisma and egotism as John Wilkes Booth, all the while sounding terrific.”
BROADWAYWORLD WEST END

“[The Balladeer] notes… that the country would heal itself after the Civil War, and that the enigmatic Booth (glorious tenor Aaron Tveit) might have shot Lincoln simply because of bad reviews for his acting.”
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Aaron Tveit is both elegant and provocative as John Wilkes Booth.”
LONDON EVENING STANDARD

“There are outstanding individualised turns from [the actors] that each provide mini-masterclasses in establishing and defining character. But there are also three performances from Aaron Tveit as John Wilkes Booth, Jamie Parker as a folk balladeer who becomes Lee Harvey Oswald, and Simon Lipkin who provide a wider context to their motivations.”
LONDON THEATRE GUIDE

“It is interesting… how Sondheim ennobles the beliefs of the original assassin John Wilkes Booth, he of Abraham Lincoln fame – a marvellous performance from Aaron Tveit – in the glorious ‘aria’ section of ‘The Ballad of Booth,’ and how ‘Another National Anthem’ for those who have slipped through the cracks conveys both anger and fervour.”
THE ARTS DESK

“Aaron Tveit makes an indignant, composed Booth.”
THE DAILY MAIL

“[T]hree characters stand out at the front – Broadway import Aaron Tveit as John Wilkes Booth, Jamie Parker as a folk balladeer who becomes Lee Harvey Oswald, and Simon Lipkin as the clown-faced fairground proprietor. The recurring presence of each – sternly principled, lyrical and haunted, by turns – brings this show into a fierce focus that is rarely experienced.”
THE STAGE

“They’re all united in a common cause, seduced into treason by Aaron Tveit’s slick, suited John Wilkes Booth…”
VARIETY

PHOTOS