pexels pixabay 257385 1The Gilbert Theater is indeed back for another production. The season is NOT over and this production is sure to intrigue audiences. The latest musical production to hit the community theater stage is Assassins. A far cry from musical productions such as Cats, Assassins takes musical theater and spins it on its head with a darkly fascinating concept and arguably some of the most complicated music written for a musical. Shows started March 8th, and will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until March 24th. Show times are Friday at 8 p.m. only, Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, at 2 p.m. only.

Assassins is based on the book written by John Weidman and adapted into a musical by Stephen Sondheim. A musical production unlike any other, Assassins tells the tale of nine men and women who have made an impact on history by trying and failing or successfully assassinating an American President. At its surface, a comedy peeled back to bare bones, Assassins is a social commentary on what drives the extreme in America and leads one to kill the leader of the “free world.”

Marie Lowe is at the director's helm of this season’s production of Assassins. An active member of the theater community here in Fayetteville for a decade, this is Lowe’s first time directing a musical.

I’m very pleased to be doing it. Assassins is a much beloved, kind of cult hit with musical theater people and Sondheim people… it’s very rarely produced, although this is the second time the Gilbert is doing it… I anticipate people really enjoying it because this cast is fantastic. It’s hard to do Assassins unless you have really good people because Sondheim is known for particularly technically difficult music… we got all the people, it’s really delightful,” Lowe said of her musical directorial debut.

Not a theater to not prepare for a production, the Gilbert Theater was able to bring in a musical director for the first three weeks of rehearsals.

Everyone learned their music and now we are just putting it on stage and it’s going to be fantastic,” Lowe said.

Artist Director Larry Carlisle, who has managed a successful season of amazingly diverse shows, is no musical expert but his knack for finding the right directors and musical directors has paid off this season, with the Rocky Horror Show being a brilliant success last fall.   “Generally, with musicals, I try to stay pretty hands-off… this one is pretty awesome… mostly I just try to let the director and music director do their thing because I know I can’t really offer anything of usefulness,” Carlisle said.

Assassins takes place in a carnival-like purgatory and John Wilkes Booth is the leader of the band of successful and unsuccessful assassins. The cast has put in the work, with some taking method acting to a new level, such as Chris Walker and Molly Malone. 

“I’m concerned the audience will like the cast too much. They are all so good, but they are playing people who are not lovable and who are not so good. They are doing a good job of trying to bring some of that into it as well,” director Lowe said of the casting for Assassins.

With a talented cast and an equally talented director, Assassins is a can’t-miss musical production. Tickets to the show can be found on the Gilbert Theaters website, https://www.gilberttheater.com/2023-2024-season/.

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