Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Assassins Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim July 13-20 F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Joey DeMita
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
The Black Box at the Arsenal Center, Watertown, MA
Review by Zvi A. Sesling
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company’s presentation of Assassins is an interesting presentation of an play from the 1990s. On the Broadway stage perhaps with more scenery, full staging and better amplification, particularly microphones, it is clearly an award-winning play.
Assassins creates a netherworld where men and women who attempted to assassinate U.S. presidents reside. Some of them have been successful and others not. Each assassin’s era features Sondheim-adapted music to reflect what was popular at that time.
F.U.D.G.E. and director Joey DeMita mounted a fine attempt at re-creating the play. Let me get to the shortcoming first: the music overwhelmed some of the voices. In particular, it was difficult to hear Kelton Washington as the Proprietor. While his facial expressions and strutting were perfect for the role, unfortunately the strong singing which he exhibited in Parade was minimized or lost. The same can be said of Jim Petty’s John Wilkes Booth and Jared Walsh’s two roles of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald. At times laid back and at other times emotional, Walsh was difficult to hear. However, when the ensemble or the assassins sang as a group, the voices were clearer. It also seemed that some of the timing was off. Hopefully, all these negatives were overcome in the subsequent performances because DeMita’s direction usually presents precision and Music Director Steven Bergman usually hits the right notes.
The performers who stood out—all of them good—were Ian flynn’s Charles J. Guiteau, Katie Preisig who portrayed Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and an over-the-top Patrick Harris as Sam Byck, who caught the tape recording insanity the way one would picture Byck’s insanity. Of course the insanity of all these assassins and the would-be assassins was portrayed the way one would have imagined.
David Lucey’s costume designing was on target, particularly his 1800s designs of Guiteau and President Garfield. The Proprietor’s outfit seemed to fit almost any era, which is a grand accomplishment. PJ Strachman’s lighting helped add a noir like effect and Emily Taborda-Monroe’s minimalist set design helped create the right image.
Overall, the production was a fine effort and with a bit of tightening p here and there it will be a terrific production worthy of F.U.D.G.E.
Zvi A. Sesling
Reviewer, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
Author, King of the Jungle and Across Stones of Bad Dreams
Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8