Assassins: Abridged

                                     ASSASSINS:
                            A "Broadway Abridged" Script
                                                            By Gil Varod





            SCENE: STUDIO 54, FORMER HOME OF "CABARET" AND WHERE YOU VERY
            WELL MIGHT HAVE BEEN CONCEIVED IF YOU WERE BORN BETWEEN 1977
            AND 1981.

                                   The theatre is set up with tables and
                                   chairs in the first half of the
                                   orchestra.

                                   HOUSE MANAGER
                          (to theatre restoration people)
            Yes, keep the orchestra seating exactly like the way it was
            set up in Cabaret.  No, don't bother taking away the tables
            and chairs now that they don't make thematic sense anymore. 
            Just keep them as the highest-priced seats, no matter how
            uncomfortable they may be.

                                   STEPHEN SONDHEIM and JOHN WEIDMAN sit
                                   in the audience.

                                   COMPOSER AND LYRICIST
                                   STEPHEN SONDHEIM
            So, after fourteen years of this show never getting to from
            off-Broadway to Broadway, think it will be successful?

                                   BOOKWRITER JOHN WEIDMAN
            Of course.  This is the second major Assassins production in
            New York.  And everybody knows that while your shows are
            financial catastrophes the first time around, any second
            major production of a Sondheim show is immediately considered
            to be intellectual masturbatory fodder.

                                   COMPOSER AND LYRICIST
                                   STEPHEN SONDHEIM
            So you're saying that someday, some reviewer out there will
            actually like "Bounce"?

                                   BOOKWRITER JOHN WEIDMAN
            Uh... no.





            SCENE: THE UNDERSIDE OF CONEY ISLAND'S CYCLONE ROLLER
            COASTER.

                                   AUDIENCE
            That's awesome, SET DESIGNER ROBERT BRILL!  I can't wait to
            see how many things come out of the roller coaster and all
            the different ways it is used!

                                   SET DESIGNER ROBERT BRILL
            Different ways it's... used... right...

                                   Music starts.  Enter MARK KUDISCH as
                                   "The Proprietor".

                                   MARK KUDISCH [AS PROPRIETOR]
                          (menacing grin)
            I'm "The Proprietor"!  Watch me be menacing with my shaved
            head and tatoos!

                                   He IS.

                                   Enter MICHAEL CEVERIS as John Wilkes
                                   Booth.  Dutifully, the Assassin raises
                                   his gun and shoots at his president.





            SCENE: THE BARN THAT JOHN WILKES BOOTH, ASSASSIN OF LINCOLN,
            HID IN BEFORE KILLING HIMSELF.

                                   Enter NEIL PATRICK HARRIS.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            Hey, Joe Mantello?  When do I get a *real* Balladeer's
            costume, something Western-ish just like you promised me?  I
            feel kinda funny dressed in this flannel and jeans.  

                                   DIRECTOR JOE MANTELLO
            Costume?  Aw, what do you need a *costume* for?  You look
            fine dressed just like that!

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            These... these are the same clothes I wore on stage as Mark
            in the LA production of Rent.  Can't I at least get a banjo
            or something?

                                   DIRECTOR JOE MANTELLO
            Nah nah, you look great, keep going!

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
                          (sighs, balladizes:)
            WHY DID YOU DO IT JOHNNY,
            THROW IT ALL AWAY...

                                   MICHAEL CEVERIS
                                   [JOHN WILKES BOOTH]
                          (writing in notebook)
            I have to write down my last testament to why I did it.  I
            have to make my case, I need to take it down!
                          (to Balladeer)
            Do not let history rob me of its meaning.  Pass on the truth,
            Neil Patrick Harris, you're the only one who can.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, M.D. 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            Okay, John Wilkes Booth.

                                   Booth tosses the notebook to Neil
                                   Patrick Harris and then shoots himself. 
                                   Neil Patrick Harris sings as the
                                   scenery moves away.

                                   AUDIENCE
            I get it, Neil Patrick Harris is the omniscient narrator!

                                   NEIL PATRICK HOWSER
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            I sure am, kids!  Now, you just saw the story of John Wilkes
            Booth, let's go through the other Assassins one by one!  
            There's a checklist on page 22 of your Playbill so you can
            mark off each Assassin's scene as we do it.  Enjoy the
            episodic freak-show!





            CHECKLIST ITEM #2: GIUSEPPE ZANGARA, ATTEMPTED ASSASSIN OF
            FRANLKIN DELANO ROOSEVELT.

                                   Enter JEFFREY KUHN (as Giuseppe
                                   Zangara), sporting something from the
                                   Banana Republic's casual summer line.

                                   Dutifully, the Assassin raises his gun
                                   and shoots at his president.

                                   Enter CHORUS to explain how they helped
                                   to stop the Assassination of FDR.  They
                                   wear white early-1900s clothing, which
                                   they will continue to wear throughout
                                   the show regardless of each scene's
                                   time period.

                                   CHORUS, DURING ONE OF THREE
                                   SCENES THAT THEY ACTUALLY
                                   APPEAR IN DURING THE PLAY
            JUST LUCKY I WAS THERE,
            OR WE'D HAVE BEEN LEFT BEREFT OF F.D.R...

                                   JEFFREY KUHN sits, looking a little bit
                                   too handsomely-groomed for a tortured
                                   immigrant bricklayer in an electric
                                   chair.

                                   JEFFREY KUHN [ASSASSIN #2]
                          (heavy Italian accent)
            FIRST I VAS FIGUREI KILLHOOVER...
            ONLYHOOVERUPINWASH INKTON
            ITSVINTERTIMEINWASH INKTON
            TOO COLDFORTHESTOMACHINWASH INKTON;
            I GODOWNTO MIAMIKILL ROOSE VELT.
                          (to audience, expecting
                           laughter:)
            NOLAUGH!

                                   AUDIENCE
            Uh... did you... just tell us to not laugh?

                                   JEFFREY KUHN [ASSASSIN #2]
                          (to audience, repeating but
                           still in a very heavy accent)
            NO LAUGH!

                                   AUDIENCE
            We... we didn't laugh... we actually don't know what you'd
            said...

                                   POOR GUY IN SOUNDBOOTH
                          (desperately)
            Must... try to make lyrics easier to understand with highly
            technological Broadway theater equipment....

                                   JEFFREY KUHN [ASSASSIN #2]
            WhatYouSay?  MakeAccentBigger?  O-kay!

                                   He does, making what was written as a
                                   funny scene now seem SERIOUS and
                                   BROODING.

                                   POOR GUY IN SOUNDBOOTH
            Oh, fuck it.

                                   Guy in Bound Booth shuts off Jeffrey
                                   Kuhn's microphone.  Apparently Jeffrey
                                   Kuhn doesn't care.

                                   MARK KUDISCH [AS PROPRIETOR]
                          (omnisciently and overly high
                           concept)
            I am still menacing as hell!

                                   mark kudisch pulls the switch on
                                   Jeffrey Kuhn's electric chair.

                                   AUDIENCE
            Wait... I thought Neil Patrick Harris is the "omniscient
            character".  Why is Menacing Mark Kudisch here?  Is he also
            omniscient?





            CHECKLIST ITEM #3: LEON CZOLGOSZ, ASSASSIN OF WILLIAM
            MCKINLEY.

                                   JAMES BARBOUR [ASSASSIN #3]
            A GUN KILLS MANY MEN BEFORE IT'S DONE
            JUST ONE MORE...

                                   Some sort of political manifesto song
                                   continues about guns killing the slave
                                   labor that makes it, but it flies over
                                   everybody's head because James
                                   Barbour's voice is so beautiful.

                                   DOOGIE PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
                          (omnisciently)
            CZOLGOSZ, WORKING MAN,
            BORN IN THE MIDDLE OF MICHIGAN...

                                   MARK KUDISCH [AS PROPRIETOR]
                          (omnisciently, but also
                           menacingly)
            Single file line, to shake hands with President William
            McKinley!

                                   Dutifully, the Assassin raises his gun
                                   and shoots at his president.

                                   AUDIENCE
            Wait... now Neil Patrick Harris and Mark Kudisch are *both*
            on stage at the same time, and *both* omniscient... so
            confused...





            CHECKLIST ITEM #4: JOHN HINCKLEY, ATTEMPTED ASSASSIN OF
            RONALD REAGAN

                                   Enter ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI (John
                                   Hinckley) with Guitar.

                                   ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI
                                   [ASSASSIN #4]
            I'm having trouble playing this guitar...

                                   MARK KUDISCH [AS PROPRIETOR]
                          (menacingly, omnisciently and
                           bald-headedly)
            Let me endow you with powers!

                                   He sensuously touches Alexander
                                   Gemignani's shoulders and elbows. 
                                   Suddenly, for some stupid reason,
                                   Alexander Gemignani can play guitar.

                                   ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI
                                   [ASSASSIN #4]
                          (Singing to a picture of Jodi
                           Foster.  No, really, he is.)
            I AM NOTHING, YOU ARE, WIND AND WATER AND SKY, JODI...

                                   He continues to sing in what sounds
                                   like it is a Carpenters ballad, or
                                   really any early 80s cheesy 
                                   love duet/movie title theme.

                                   Enter MARY CATHERINE GARRISON (Squeaky
                                   Fromme, one of the Charles Manson
                                   girls).

                                   MARY CATHERINE GARRISON
                                   [ASSASSIN #6]
                          (singing to a picture of
                           Charles Manson)
            I AM, NOTHING, YOU ARE, FIRE AND DEVIL AND GOD, CHARLIE...

                                   She continues to sing these very
                                   dissonant lyrics as if they are sincere
                                   --ignoring the contrast between her
                                   lyrics and Alexander Gemignani's-
                                   making what was written as a funny
                                   scene now seem overly SERIOUS and
                                   BROODING.

                                   ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI AND 
                                   MARY CATHERINE GARRISON
                                   [ASSASSINS #4 AND #6]
            I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOUR LOVE...

                                   Mary Catherine Garrison then cuts her
                                   forehead, which is the final nail in
                                   the coffin of what would have otherwise
                                   been a darkly funny song.

                                   BROODING
            No, SERIOUS, what're we doing here so early in the show?

                                   SERIOUS
            Beats me.

                                   ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI
                                   [ASSASSIN #4]
            I am going to go try to kill Reagan!

                                   Dutifully, the Assassin raises his gun
                                   and--yup--shoots at his president.





            CHECKLIST ITEM #5: CHARLES GUITEAU, ASSASSIN OF JAMES
            GARFIELD.

                                   Enter Dennis O' Hare as Charles
                                   Guiteau.  Dutifully, the Assassin
                                   raises his gun... etc.

                                   DOOGIE PATRICK HOWSER 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            CHARLIE GUITEAU,
            NEVER SAID "NEVER" OR HEARD THE WORD "NO",
            FACED WITH DISASTER HIS HEART WOULD BEAT FASTER
            HIS SMILE WOULD GROW, AND HE'D SAY:

                                   DENNIS O'HARE [ASSASSIN #5]
            Remember when I was in "Take Me Out" as "that gay guy" and
            won a Tony Award? 

                                   DOOGIE HOOGIE WOOGIE
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            Uh... that's not what he'd say...

                                   DENNIS O'HARE [ASSASSIN #5]
            Apparently, because everybody seemed to love my performance
            so much as "that gay guy", I've decided to bring the
            wonderful elements of my Tony-Award-winning performance of
            "that gay guy" into this part!
                          (singing stereotypically gay:)
            LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE,
            NOT ON THE BLACK SIDE,
            GET OFF YOUR BACKSIDE, SHINE THOSE SHOES!

                                   THE DOOGSTER
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            MANTELLO!  He's doing it again!

                                   DIRECTOR JOE MANTELLO
            Uh... Dennis... Charles Guiteau wasn't gay...

                                   DENNIS O'HARE [MASON MARZAC]
            THIS IS THE LAND OF OPPORTUNI...
            I'm sorry, what'd you say Joe Mantello?

                                   DIRECTOR JOE MANTELLO
            I said, Charles Guiteau shouldn't be the same character as...
            oh, nevermind.

                                   Dennis O'Hare continues this, making
                                   what was written as a funny and
                                   demented scene now seem SERIOUS and
                                   demented.  

                                   He runs all the way up the Coney-Island
                                   Cyclone-Steps.

                                   HALF OF THE AUDIENCE
            Hey, from our seats we can't see if he does anything at the
            top of the steps!

                                   He DOESN'T.





            CHECKLIST ITEM #6 AND 7: SQUEAKY FROMME AND SARA JANE MOORE,
            ATTEMPTED ASSASSINS OF GERALD FORD.

                                   Dutifully, each of the two Assassins
                                   raises his her gun and shoots at his
                                   their president.





            CHECKLIST ITEM #8: SAM BYCK, ATTEMPTED ASSASSIN OF RICHARD
            NIXON.

                                   Enter Actor/Comedian MARIO CANTONE as
                                   Sam Byck.

                                   MARIO CANTONE [ASSASSIN #8]
            Hey, I'm Sam Byck, the guy who tried to kill Dick Nixon.
                          (drinks from Budweiser can)
            At the moment, I still haven't really figured out if I want
            to try playing this part as Sam Byck or just play it as Mario
            Cantone.
                          (drinks from can again)
            Sure, I could develop a character for this part, but why do
            that when I can just as easily assume that Sam Byck was Mario
            Cantone?
                          (drinks again)
            Furthermore--

                                   DIRECTOR JOE MANTELLO
            Uh... Mario, I... could you not use that beer can prop so
            liberally?  It's becoming a real crutch...

                                   MARIO CANTONE [ASSASSIN #8]
                          (drinks from the beer can
                           again, then gesticulates
                           wildly with the beer can)
            I don't know what you're talking about.  This beer can is an
            extension of--

                                   DIRECTOR JOE MANTELLO
            That's it, the beer can has to go.

                                   Director Joe Mantello takes the beer
                                   can away from Mario Cantone.

                                   MARIO CANTONE [MARIO CANTONE]
                          (stuttering)
            I... I... I can't play... part... without beer can...

                                   Dutifully, the Assassin raises his gun
                                   and shoots at Director Joe Mantello's
                                   feet until he gives Mario Cantone the
                                   beer can back.

                                   MARIO CANTONE [MARIO CANTONE]
            That'll teach you to mess with Mario Cant... er... Sam...
            er... what's my character's name again?





            SCENE: END OF SHOW.

                                   All of the Assassins come out.

                                   ASSASSIN #1
            Hey, we need to tie this all together!

                                   ASSASSIN #8
            You're right!

                                   ALL ASSASSINS
                          (singing in unison)
            THERE'S ANOTHER NATIONAL ANTHEM PLAYING,
            NOT THE ONE YOU CHEER AT THE BALLPARK.
            SPREAD THE WORD.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            Hey, I'm the omniscient good guy, and I'm here to tell you
            that all of your Assassinations didn't make a difference,
            even when you thought you were doing it for good reasons.  

                                   MARK KUDISCH [AS PROPRIETOR]
            Neil, being that you're the good omniscient character and I'm
            the evil omniscient character, now would have been a good
            time for us to battle head-on.  

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            Yes it would have, especially if you had been omniscient in
            more than just three randomly-selected scenes.  Oh well.
                          (to the assassins)
            And what the hell is the song you're singing?  What does
            "Another National Anthem" *mean*?  You don't seem to have a
            point.

                                   ALL ASSASSINS
                          (continuing)
            THERE'S ANOTHER NATIONAL ANTHEM FOLKS, 
            FOR THOSE WHO...
            Actually, we have no idea what this means.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
                          (to audience)
            Well kids, your scorecard is filled so you should go home.

                                   AUDIENCE
            Hold on, we still haven't checked off--

                                   Frantically, the BROADWAY ABRIDGED
                                   SPOILERS GUY enter.

                                   BROADWAY ABRIDGED 
                                   SPOILERS GUY
                          (smiling like he's in a
                           toothpaste commercial)
            Hi everybody!  I just wanted to let you know that if you
            haven't ever seen "Assassins" before and you are ever
            planning to, now's the time to stop reading and go see the
            show before anything major is ruined!

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [AS BALLADEER]
            Whoa, where'd you come from?

                                   BROADWAY ABRIDGED 
                                   SPOILERS GUY
            Who, me?  Oh, I've been in the Lobby consoling Douglas Sills
            and Raul Esparza for choosing to be in "Little Shop" and
            "Taboo" instead of this production of "Assassins".  See, they
            were both supposed to be in this production when it was going
            to originally be produced in fall 2001 but when Roundabout--
                          (stops as if he hears
                           something)
            Oh... I'm sorry, I think Douglas Sills needs me again... poor
            guy.

                                   He exits to the Lobby, and as the door
                                   swings open we briefly hear a round of
                                   "Into the Fire" sung through sobs.

                                   AUDIENCE
            We're not done Neil Patrick Harris!  We haven't gotten to the
            assassination of JFK yet!

                                   ALL ASSASSINS
                          (still singing)
            SAY TO EACH AND EVERY FAN,
            IF YOU CAN'T DO WHAT YOU WANT TO
            THEN YOU DO THE THINGS YOU CAN...

                                   Neil Patrick Harris hides behind the
                                   Assassins and, without ever leaving the
                                   stage, emerges with his costume changed
                                   from THE BALLADEER to LEE HARVEY
                                   OSWALD!

                                   Actually, it wasn't so hard.  All he
                                   did was replace his flannel shirt with
                                   a white T-Shirt.  Really.

                                   Apparently the double-casting of the
                                   Balladeer as Lee Harvey Oswald is
                                   supposed to be symbolic of... well,
                                   when we figure out what that symbol is,
                                   we'll get back to you.





            SCENE: TEXAS BOOK DEPOSITORY IN DALLAS, TX.

                                   John Wilkes Booth enters.

                                   MICHAEL CEVERIS
                                   [JOHN WILKES BOOTH]
            You should kill the President of the United States.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [LEE HARVEY OSWALD]
            What?!?

                                   MICHAEL CEVERIS
                                   [JOHN WILKES BOOTH]
            His plane landed at the airport fifteen minutes ago.  His
            motorcade is going to go right past this window.  When it
            does, you shoot him.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS 
                                   [LEE HARVEY OSWALD]
            Who are you?

                                   MICHAEL CEVERIS
                                   [JOHN WILKES BOOTH]
            My name is John Wilkes Booth, Lee.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
                                   [LEE HARVEY OSWALD]
            John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln.

                                   Suddenly, all the assassins appear, and
                                   one by one convince Neil Patrick Harris
                                   to shoot JFK.

                                   This should be the most powerful,
                                   disturbing scene in the entire show. 
                                   However, because so many of the once
                                   humorous scenes are now SERIOUS and
                                   BROODING, the audience is too numbed to
                                   be able to experience this scene fully,
                                   causing the sudden transition in tone
                                   to not be that large.

                                   THOSE PEOPLE AT THE THEATRE
                                   THAT YOU WISH WOULD SHUT UP
            Hmph!  If they expect me to actually believe that Lee Harvey
            Oswald killed JFK because John Wilkes Booth convinced him to,
            well they have another thing coming!

                                   Neil Patrick Harris walks over to the
                                   window.  Dutifully, the Assassin raises
                                   his gun and shoots at his president.

                                   LIGHTING GUY
            Hey, Neil, face out!

                                   Neil Patrick Harris turns towards us so
                                   that the lighting guy can project the
                                   Zapruder film of JFK's assassination
                                   onto Neil Patrick Harris's white T
                                   shirt.

                                   AUDIENCE
            Hey, I can't see what's on his shirt, it's too small.

                                   NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
            That's okay, projecting this onto my shirt was a pretty
            forced idea anyway.





            SCENE: VARIOUS JUXTAPOSED TIME PERIODS

                                   Enter anybody in the cast who did not
                                   play an Assassin, to sing the newly
                                   added song "Something Just Broke" about
                                   where they were when they heard the
                                   president was shot. 

                                   CHORUS MEMBER 1
            I WAS STANDING BY THE STOVE...

                                   CHORUS MEMBER 2
            I WAS SITTING IN THE YARD...

                                   CHORUS MEMBER 3
            ...it's a shame you haven't met us yet, because if you had
            then it might have made it easier to immediately connect to
            our Hallmark Greeting Card-brand sadness.

                                   CHORUS MEMBER 4
            ..it's a shame we're still wearing this weird white clothing
            from the beginning of the 1900s, we really look like our
            costume designer did no research.

                                   MOMENTUM
            ... it's also a shame that the insertion of this song is
            killing me.

                                   THE OBVIOUS
            ...and overstating me, to boot!

                                   AUDIENCE
            I feel like there's a message or a moral I'm supposed to be
            getting from this all...

                                   Audience sits in seats confounded.

                                   BLACKOUT.

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