Following its critically acclaimed sold-out season at the Hayes Theatre Co in 2017, Sydney Opera House has announced that Stephen Sondheim’s darkly entertaining, revue-style musical Assassins, starring the acclaimed actor, singer and showman David Campbell as John Wilkes Booth, will play in the Playhouse this June.
Set in a fairground shooting gallery, the Tony Award-winning Assassins tells the story of nine misfit Americans who killed (or planned to kill) their President-of-the-day. The genius of America’s greatest musical-theatre composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods) combines with John Weidman’s book, exploring the disillusionment associated with patriotic idealism. Deploying a dose of absurd humour and a century of musical pastiche, Assassins dissects the motivations of some of history’s most notorious criminals.
“This startlingly bold production of Assassins grabs you with its immediacy, hilarity and timeliness,” said Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Performance, Olivia Ansell. “It was considered controversial when it premiered off-Broadway in 1990, but the times have caught up with it. Assassins is a smart musical that contemporary audiences will love.”
“Just as they’ve enjoyed the opportunity to see other Australian music theatre productions by independent promoters that transferred to the Opera House from the highly-respected Hayes Theatre Co, like Sweet Charity (2015) and Heathers (2016).”
The hit 2017 Hayes Theatre Co season received widespread critical acclaim and multiple nominations in last year’s Sydney Theatre Awards. Starring alongside Campbell is Connor Crawford (The Sound of Music, City of Angels), Hannah Fredericksen (Dream Lover, Heathers), Kate Cole (Ladies in Black, Sweet Charity), and Bobby Fox (Ladies in Black, High Society, Blood Brothers).
Also starring will be Jason Winston [formerly known as Jason Kos] (Cabaret, Miracle City), Rob McDougall (Les Misérables), and Justin Smith (The Detective’s Handbook, Billy Elliot). Newcomer Maxwell Simon reprises his role of The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald after a sensational debut at the Hayes.
“Assassins is a wry celebration and indictment of a culture that adores their guns,” said Director Dean Bryant (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sweet Charity, Little Shop of Horrors). “A documentary, black comedy, revue and tour through a hundred years of popular music. Assassins couldn’t be more right for Australia now when our news feeds are full of the sad impact of US gun violence and the whims of the incumbent President.”
The creative team is completed by Helpmann Award-winning Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth (Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, Muriel’s Wedding), Musical Director Andrew Worboys (Sweet Charity and Little Shop of Horrors), Costume & Set Designer Alicia Clements (After Dinner, Ivanov), and Ross Graham (Little Shop of Horrors, Sweet Charity) and Nick Walker on light and sound design respectively.
Assassins will play the Playhouse – Sydney Opera House: 7 June – 1 July. Pre-sale commences Wednesday 7 March (9.00am), with tickets on sale to the general public from 9.00am – Monday 12 March 2018. For more information, visit: www.sydneyoperahouse.com for details.
Image: David Campbell as John Wilkes Booth in Assassins – photo by Phil Erbacher