Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of EPAC's ASSASSINS

A musical about presidential assassins? Why not? As he proved in Sweeney Todd-a neo-operatic melodrama about a serial killer-composer Stephen Sondheim is fearless in the face of challenge.

Ephrata Performing Arts Center's Oct. 17- Nov. 2 production of Assassins frames portraits of nine presidential assassins and wannabes-from John Wilkes Booth through Lee Harvey Oswald-in the garish setting of a carnival shooting gallery. Rather than offend by glorifying these misfits and misguided "patriots," Assassins personalizes them with piercing insight, comedy and pathos.

Employing those he depicts as "the ones who can't get into the ballpark" in league with a contrasting succession of fame-seekers and political zealots, Sondheim forges a spellbinding tale spanning more than two centuries of history and musical fashion.

Winner of five Tony Awards and four Drama Desk Awards for its 2004 revival, Assassins is today even more volatile, relevant and disturbing than ever in the face of current events, including the battle over gun control. But Assassins holds up the looking glass to these notorious characters-and society itself-without passing judgment.

A smash hit for EPAC in 2000, Assassins is returning by popular demand with that production's original star, Sean Young, reprising one of his most-acclaimed performances as John Wilkes Booth, whose assassination of Abraham Lincoln foreshadows a succession of "followers."

Tim Reilly, another reigning EPAC leading man, portrays the Balladeer who gives the work its centrifugal force.

The other assassins, their targets, and the actors portraying them are:
Lee Harvey Oswald (President John F. Kennedy) - Alexander Bannon.
Charles Guiteau (President James Garfield) - Darren Wagner.
Leon Czolgosz (President William McKinley) - Preston Schreffler.
The failed assassins and their portrayers are:
Giuseppe Zangara (President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt) - Corey Buller.
Samuel Byck (President Richard Nixon) - Bob Checchia.
John Hinckley (President Ronald Reagan) - Sean Deffley
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (President Gerald Ford) - Martha Wasser.
Sara Jane Moore (President Gerald Ford) - Elizabeth Pattey.

Evan Cooper portrays the shooting gallery Proprietor. Ensemble members John Kleimo, Adam Dienner, Brandon Kegerize, Robin Payne, Kathleen Harris Brantman and Bailey Ammons portray an array of other key figures ranging from political activist Emma Goldman to Secret Service Agents and presidential targets.

EPAC artistic director Edward R. Fernandez directs. JP Meyer is musical director. JorDon Ross Weinhold is assistant director. Pat Kautter is choreographer. Beth Lewis is production manager. Steve Schelling is technical director. Joan Adams is stage manager. Costumes are by Kate Wilman. Scenic design by Evan Hill. Lighting by Jeff Cusano. Props by Kathleen Harris Brantman.

Tickets are $15-$27.50. Show times at the Sharadin Bigler Theatre are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, and 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Oct. 17 - Nov. 2, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Nov. 2, for which any tickets unsold by 1:30 p.m. go on sale for a pay-what-you-will donation. Reserve seats at or call (717) 733-7966, Ext. 1.

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