The Sydney Opera House has announced the final cast members for its upcoming production of the critically-acclaimed musical Assassins. After a sold-out season at the Hayes Theatre Co, which received widespread critical praise and multiple nominations in last year’s Sydney Theatre Awards, this darkly entertaining, revue-style musical arrives in the Playhouse in June.
As previously announced, reprising the role of John Wilkes Booth, earning him the 2017 Sydney Theatre Award for ‘Best Male Actor in a Leading Role’ is acclaimed actor, singer and showman David Campbell (Dream Lover). Joining him in the role of Sam Byck is Anthony Gooley – awarded ‘Best Actor in an Independent Production’ for The Libertine (2011 Sydney Theatre Awards).
Playing the role of Giuseppe Zangara is Luigi Lucente – most recently seen on Sydney stages in Muriel’s Wedding and leading the cast in the Australian premiere of Dogfight at the Hayes Theatre Co. The final cast announcement is Sydney Theatre Award winner Madeleine Jones (Muriel’s Wedding, Ladies in Black) who will play the role of Emma Goldman.
Continuing their roles from the critically-acclaimed Hayes Theatre Co season are Connor Crawford (The Sound of Music, City of Angels), Hannah Fredericksen (Dream Lover, Heathers), Kate Cole (Ladies in Black, Sweet Charity), Bobby Fox (Jersey Boys, Blood Brothers), Jason Winston – formerly known as Jason Kos – (Cabaret, Miracle City), and Rob McDougall (Les Misérables). The spectacular newcomer Maxwell Simon reprises his role of The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald after a sensational debut at the Hayes Theatre Co.
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).”
Director Dean Bryant (Sweet Charity, Little Shop of Horrors) leads a stellar creative team including Helpmann Award-winning Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth (Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, Muriel’s Wedding), Musical Director Andrew Worboys (Sweet Charity, Little Shop of Horrors), Costume & Set Designer Alicia Clements (Muriel’s Wedding, The Father, After Dinner), and Ross Graham (Little Shop of Horrors, Sweet Charity) and Nick Walker on light and sound design respectively.
“Assassins is a wry celebration and indictment of a culture that adores their guns. A documentary, black comedy, revue and tour through a hundred years of popular music,” says Bryant. “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.”
“This superbly staged realisation of one of Stephen Sondheim’s most disturbing musicals challenges and entertains in equal measure.” – Bill Stephens OAM (Australian Arts Review)
Playhouse – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 7 June – 1 July 2018
Information and Bookings: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Image: Kate Cole, David Campbell, Bobby Fox and Jason Winston star in Assassins (supplied)