Aaron Tveit made The Times (UK) headline in a feature article by writer Sam Marlowe. In it, he discusses his current project – his role as John Wilkes Booth in the Sondheim-Weidman revue musical, Assassins, now playing at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory – and how the production forces audiences to empathize with these negative figures in American history. Also noteworthy is Aaron pointing out the American Dream parallel between Catch Me If You Can‘s Frank Abagnale Jr and the figures depicted in Assassins.
“The Menier has a great rep in the States, and Jamie [Lloyd] is someone you want to work with,” [Aaron Tveit] says. “And I’ve always wanted to do theater in London.” Tveit, now 31, was just seven when Assassins premiered off-Broadway, and has never seen a production; among the Menier cast, only one (Mike McShane, playing Samuel Byck, the would-be killer of Nixon) is a US compatriot. What’s it like performing a show that’s so intrinsically American with a bunch of Brits?
“I feel like because we’re not in America, we can have a more objective view on it,” Tveit says. “The way things are in the States, especially since 9/11, anytime you speak out against certain things it can be viewed as un-American. They say that history’s written by the victor, but this show asks you to look at the other side, and try to empathize with these crazy people.”
Booth, who was a successful actor and part of a Maryland theatrical dynasty, is, Tveit says, something of a hate figure in America. Confederate and fiercely pro-slavery, onstage he was reportedly mesmerizing: a raven-haired, scenery-chewing scene-stealer. “Yah, he’s viewed in the States as a terrible, terrible person,” Tveit explains. “Yet he’s from theater royalty. He lived in the shadow of his brother, Edwin, who had the real craft and intelligence, but apparently John was this very physical figure who would force the audience to fall in love with him and command the stage. I’ve been having a lot of fun with that.”
SOURCE: THE TIMES