Neil Patrick Harris Takes on Lee Harvey Oswald in Broadway's Assassins

News   Neil Patrick Harris Takes on Lee Harvey Oswald in Broadway's Assassins
 
Neil Patrick Harris will lead the cast of the upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company revival of the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical Assassins on Broadway.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Harris, known to television audiences as the title character in the 80's sitcom "Doogie Howser, M.D.," has become quite the stage star in recent years. He appeared in a Los Angeles productions of Rent and Sweeney Todd which led to Sondheim bringing him to New York to perform the show again for Lincoln Center's Sweeney Todd: Live in Concert. Harris made his Broadway debut in the play Proof and followed up that stint with a run as the Emcee in Roundabout's Cabaret.

Reclaiming the role he has performed in several workshops and the slated 2001 production which was postponed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Harris will portray John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and the Balladeer. The two roles are being combined for the Broadway staging — the original Off-Broadway run featured Jace Alexander as Oswald and Patrick Cassidy as Balladeer.

Assassins, which debuted at Playwrights Horizons in 1990, centers on nine presidential assassins and would-be assassins. Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Wicked, Take Me Out ) will direct. Paul Gemignani (Into The Woods, Kiss Me, Kate) will serve as musical director. The production, set to start previews March 19, 2004, will mark the musical's Broadway premiere.

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As previously reported by PBOL, actor-comedian Mario Cantone, currently starring on Broadway in The Violet Hour, is set to star in Assassins, playing would be Nixon killer Samuel Byck. Broadway's Tommy Michael Cerveris told Playbill On-Line he is slated to play John Wilkes Booth — a role set to be played (in 2001) by Douglas Sills (Little Shop of Horrors). Raúl Esparza, who is in the new musical Taboo, meanwhile, has said he would also like to be part of the cast. He was originally scheduled to play failed FDR assassin Giuseppe Zangara.

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