Photo Flash: A Look Into Genderblind ASSASSINS' Dystopian Carnival
A gender-blind production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins is now running at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts [August 16 - 25, 2019, Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00 pm, and Wednesday and Thursday performances at 8:00 pm].
This multiple Tony Award-winning classic, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman, is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert Jr. The show takes a lens to the pattern of presidential assassination attempts while examining America's culture of celebrity and the violent means some have resorted to in order to obtain it. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers Sondheim and Weidman bend the rules of space and time to explore a limbo where America's famous presidential assassins meet and connect. The show allows the characters to divulge their crimes committed in the name of the American Dream, and asks audiences to examine the ways in which the country has or has not changed in its number of years since its patriotic birth.
The gender-blind casting features Francesca Barletta (Proprietor), Sarah Kline (Booth), Jade Taylor (Balladeer), Parker Apple (Czolgosz), Renee Cohen (Charles Guiteau), Hallie Mayer (Zangara), Josh Hillinger (Byck), Tamara Burgess (Fromme), Frankie Zabilka (Hinckley), Courtney Reed (Moore), Clint Blakely (Oswald), and Keeley Bell, Jane Leu, and Rory Smith as Citizens.
Director Joanna Syiek is the Indy Award Winner for her direction of American Idiot. She received two Broadway World Nominations for Best Direction of LIZZIE and The Pokémusical. Musical direction is by Jennifer Lin who received an Ovation Nomination for Best Music Direction of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The production also features assistant direction from Mitchell Webb. The show is produced by Young Artists Forever with Kelsey Schulte as lead producer.
Director Joanna Syiek says of doing this show at this point in America's history: "As Assassins' Balladeer reminds us in the show "angry men don't write the rules/ and guns don't write the wrongs." We find it to be incredibly important to be doing a show like Assassins now precisely because of the time in which we are living. Good art holds up a mirror and challenges us to look back in our reflection - this show asks the audience if we recognize ourselves in our sordid history of violence, all while underlining the fact that an assassin's gun never fixed a problem - only opened up 10 new ones. It seems like nearly every community has now had a terrible brush with America's gun violence problem. Theatre may not solve the problem overnight, but it is the balm - the ever present reminder that we, as a nation, have a long road ahead of us, and plenty of historical paths that we no longer need to revisit."
Playing now on the Outdoor Patio Stage at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, 403 West Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks. Reserved tickets are $20, with $15 seats available for students and seniors, and may be purchased by calling 805-381-1246 or visiting www.hillcrestarts.com.
Frankie Zabilka, Francesca Barletta, Clint Blakely; Josh Hillinger, Rory Smith, Hallie Mayer, Jane Leu, Keeley Bell
Frankie Zabilka, Courtney Reed, Josh Hillinger, Renee Cohen, Sarah Kline, Parker Apple, Tamara Burgess and Hallie Mayer
Courtney Reed, Parker Apple, Renee Cohen, Sarah Kline
Francesca Barletta, Sarah Kline, Hallie Mayer, Courtney Reed, Frankie Zabilka, Renee Cohen, Parker Apple
Francesca Barletta, Sarah Kline, Parker Apple, Renee Cohen, Courtney Reed, Josh Hillinger, and Jade Taylor
Rory Smith, Keeley Bell, Jade Taylor and Jane Leu
Frankie Zabilka, Josh Hillinger, Courtney Reed, Renee Cohen, Clint Blakely, Sarah Kline, Parker Apple, Tamara Burgess