Music and Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM
Book by JOHN WEIDMAN
ASSASSINS is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.
Playwrights Horizons, Inc. - New York City
Produced ASSASSINS Off-Broadway in 1990
Directed by Wade Newhouse
Musical Direction by Matt Hodge
April 19 - 22, 2018
Kenan Auditorium, Browne-McPherson Building
Contains strong language and adult themes.
Perhaps it is coincidental that the collaboration between Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman has grown in popularity since its 1990 Off-Broadway debut as the rise of mass shootings in America has increased its grip on the American psyche. Whether one has anything to do with the other matters little. It cannot be ignored that the nation has a preoccupation with violence and the ideal of the “American Dream.”
William Peace Theatre’s production of Assassins, running April 19 - 22, 2018 for five performances in Kenan Hall on campus, comes at a troubling time for the country. Disillusionment, depression, and the ready availability if not all-out celebration of firearms have over the last few decades created a dangerous cocktail of volatility. This musical, presented in a carnivalesque setting in which the killers and would-be assassins of American presidents mix and mingle, is a darkly comic examination of what drives men and women to murder.
The show creates an imaginary gathering of historical figures including John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, and a host of other successful and attempted assassins as they share their dreams and motives. Assassins won multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards for its Broadway revival in 2004.
Dr. Wade Newhouse, director of this production, earned his Ph.D in English at Boston University. At William Peace University he teaches such courses as Composition, Children’s Literature, Southern Literature, Storytelling for Simulation, Critical Approaches to Film, and The Gothic: Ghosts and Vampires. He has published articles and book chapters on a wide variety of authors, including Sir Walter Scott, Ambrose Bierce, William Faulkner, and Neil Gaiman. He is a member of Raleigh’s Village Idiots and has performed with that improvisational comedy troupe for over ten years. As an actor, Dr. Newhouse has often appeared on the Peace stage, playing such roles as Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Herr Schultz in Cabaret, the Narrator/Mysterious Man in Into the Woods, and the Chairman in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He also appeared in local productions with Honest Pint Theatre, Bare Theatre, and Peaceabilities Productions. He co-directed William Peace Theatre’s 2014 production of Much Ado About Nothing and directed Twelfth Night (2016), Noises Off (2017), and An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe (2017). He currently serves as the Interim Program Director for Peace’s Theatre and Musical Theatre programs.