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  Assassins at Theater Wit


Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave Chicago

From John Wilkes Booth to John Hinckley, Jr., Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award winning one-act musical bends time to bring together America's most unforgettable presidential assassins for a darkly comic journey through the underbelly of the American Dream. This warped and tuneful tour through history takes the form of a carnival game, where the sounds of the decades, from ragtime to folk and more, accompany revue-style portrayals of these notorious assassins and would-be assassins. The twisted festivities might even look familiar to you, bearing a striking similarity to the circus we call "celebrity culture." You'll be invited inside the minds of the assassins -- men who, in their unique ways, felt they'd been robbed of the American Dream. What made them resort to violence where others didn't? Does society play a role in creating these "monsters"? Thought-provoking and delightful, Assassins is sure to stimulate plenty of post-show conversation.

Presented by Kokandy Productions

Thru - Jul 20, 2014

Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $38

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Running Time: 1hr, 45mins

  Assassins Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...This is, overall, among the best works to date from Kokandy Productions, the relatively well-funded, for-profit entity that produces small musicals on Chicago's North Side each summer to - self-evidently - an increasingly high standard."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...The current revival by Kokandy Productions - a must-see show running through July 20 at Theater Wit - is enough to make your hair stand up on end. Riveting on every count, it is a major achievement for director Rachel Edwards Harvith, as well as for her music director (Kory Danielson), her formidable cast, and her design team (with special applause for Zachary Gipson's vertiginous wood roller coaster-like set)."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The cast of Rachel Edwards Harvith's emphatic staging for Kokandy Productions capture the characters' rage and paranoia, but their fevered approach is murder on the jokes, which barely register. Still, several members of the ensemble manage to convey an effective mix of pathos and fury, especially Neala Barron and Jason Richards as Sara Jane Moore and Sam Byck, who tried to do in Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, respectively."
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Zac Thompson

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Harvith also departs from the conceit, originated in the piece’s Broadway debut in a 2004 revival by Roundabout Theatre Company, that the same actor plays both the Balladeer and, in the climactic scene, Lee Harvey Oswald. Instead, Nathan Gardner’s Oswald is allowed to lurk, observing, through most of the play. But he’s also tapped by the Proprietor early on to serve as Booth’s co-conspirator, David Herold. Assassins has long been viewed as lesser Sondheim, but I've always found it one of the composer's most affecting—and Kokandy’s production best proves why, making manifest in its staging the idea that these lone gunmen are really part of a lethal lineage."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago - Recommended

"...The strongest performance however is that of Jason Richard’s Sam Byck dressed as Santa Claus whose aim it was to assassinate Richard Nixon. This character is the centerpiece of Assassins and is given the most stage time. Richard’s finesse as a superb actor finds a multitude of levels to play that gives the character a richness and vulnerability that touches us and makes us relate. He is the “Everyman” in the show and the one character who does not just come across as a freak."
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James Murray

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Although this is a scrappy squad performing in a tiny space with an orchestra of exactly seven, the cumulative poetic effect of this unfolding is far from small. That's thanks in large part to Kokandy's solid musical values, which do not stand second to its theatrical values, and without which no Sondheim show can be honestly served."
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Nancy Malitz

Splash Magazine - Highly Recommended

"...Director, Rachel Edwards Harvith, made a brave and ultimately brilliant decision to cut the entire ensemble from this production and have many of the assassins play "extras" in each other's scenes instead. In Ms. Harvith's production the assassins never leave the stage for a moment. Throughout the show they sit on the outskirts of each scene - glaring in and listening intently with an almost morbid look of attraction at the events unfolding. The overall effect of this helps add another vivid surreal-like level to the dark tone of the show and it reinforces a major point in Assassins: that collectively these assassins are a potent American force, even if they are disillusioned and misguided individually."
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Justin LeClaire

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...It's a dark place to go and an uncomfortable conclusion to arrive at, and entering the space at Kokandy's production, you know you're in for a ride. It's a gaudy yet forbidden corner of a carnival midway, which avoids any hint of a perpendicular angle in the rickety scaffolding that dominates the back. Lights are strung all around us, bold and garish. Some ways off, the clank-clank of the midway's mechanisms trundles on, never stopping, always catching the ears of the curious. (Extra props to sound designer Mikey Moran for differentiating the gun shots.)"

Patrick O'Brien

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...There are not many songs that you will hum from this one and the words are a bit to complicated to recall after being heard. You will probably recall the theme “”Everybody’s Got The Right To Be Happy”, but the basic songs of the show are Sondheim’s way of telling the story. Under the musical direction of Kory Danielson on keyboards , with some clever choreography by Mike Ford and amazing costumes ( just right for the period) by Kate Setzer Kamphausen and lots of super props ( Johnny Buranosky) ,Kokandy Productions has put together a solid show that will give audiences a bit of an insight into some of our history and at the same time an enjoyable 100 minutes of “something different”."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Sondheim’s musical clearly isn’t for everyone. In spite of the abundance of dark humor, it’s subject matter is often difficult to witness. The idea that murder is just a quick way to achieve fame can be hard to swallow. However, as in past productions, this young company once again demonstrates that they’re a group to watch, always willing to take chances and push the envelope. This production, however difficult the premise is to accept, is a slickly produced, finely directed, acted and sung show that audiences won’t soon forget."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...The entire ensemble is terrific. They really do kill it! They bring dimensionality to the notorious winners and forgotten losers in the POTUS shootings. "Everybody has the right" bookends the show. The high-energy tune establishes the treasonous tone for this show. The content is so wrong, it's right. Only in America, would we take a snarky and historical look at killing off our President and then set it to music. ASSASSINS is a deadly shot of American ingenuity."
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Katy Walsh

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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