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At any given time, there's one broadway show I'm anxiously awaiting long before it hits the mass public eye. Back in 1999, when I found out that on The Producers (one of my favorite movies) was going to be on Broadway, I followed its development closely for two years. Two years later, when the Producers from "did you know they're making..." to "giant commerical success", I switched to researching the details on Assassins' upcoming opening, which was supposed to finally make it's Broadway review in fall of 2001.

I thought that 9/11 might affect this production, but I feel like the show works regardless. The only thing is, I think Assassins works better as a dark comedy than a partially-serious look at the subject, which is what Joe Mantello has somewhat done with this production. For example, every time an Assassin kills his or her president, they move into the back and sit onstage, one by one becoming some sort of a carnivalesque freak-show. The concept for this is great save one thing: while they're onstage, they have this absolutely horrifying look. Even John Hinckley, who looks absolutely harmless onstage, appears like a nightmare once he's sitting in the back. This makes it a lot harder to laugh at some of the scenes going on in the front of the stage.

When you have Assassins as a dark comedy, you get the posion cookie effect. In other words, for the first hour and a half you're enjoying it so much (the "cookie") that it isn't until the very last scene that you're suddenly jolted into reality (the "poison"). Much like the recent Cabaret revival, actually. Maybe, post 9/11, they thought that an audience wouldn't be able to handle that much dark humor.

I just give them praise for finally getting one of the most fantastic pieces of musical theatre (regardless of how imperfect) onto the Broadway stage after so many years. Anyway, enjoy the Abridge, and thanks to Amy for her help in writing it.


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Volume 1: Even More Musicals comedy album available for sale on iTunes/Amazon.