Roundabout sources have made more information available on the casting and creative team involved with the June 2 reading of Assassins, the 1991 musical by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and John Weidman (book). [see below]
As reported earlier, Assassins received a preliminary reading under the auspices of the Roundabout Theatre Company last week. If eventually mounted, a New York revival would be the first of its kind since the show ran Off Broadway in 1991.
Sondheim's office confirmed a Variety story that outlined Roundabout's lead role in a revival effort that has attracted early interest from the Shubert Organization.
First seen at Playwrights Horizons, the 1991 musical profiles historic and would-be presidential assassins. The original staging, by Jerry Zaks, featured Debra Monk, Jace Alexander, Lee Wilkof, Annie Golden, "Ally McBeal's" Greg Germann (earlier misidentified as "Mark"), Victor Garber, Terrence Mann and Jonathan Hadary. Its run at Playwrights Horizons was a sold-out success, but plans to move the show to Broadway were largely squashed when the Gulf War erupted and producers thought the timing unwise for such a dark, political musical.
Sondheim's office told Playbill On-Line that the June 2 reading had taken place but that there was little else to report, other than the fact that Roundabout had "put the people together." Roundabout's spokesperson had not returned a call by press time. Roundabout director Joe Mantello championed the reading, which could be produced as early as 2001, the same year that Mantello will direct Noel Coward's Design for Living at the Roundabout. Sondheim's Follies is also scheduled for the coming season.
The cast of the June 2 reading were Neil Patrick Harris (Balladeer), Michael Hall (John Wilkes Booth), Becky Ann Baker (Sara Jane Moore), Lisa Loeb (Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme), Stephen Spinella (Charles Guiteau), Brian D'Arcy James (Giuseppe Zangara), Paul Kandel (Proprietor), John Dossett (Leon Czolgosz), Matt McGrath (John Hinckley) and Mario Cantone (Samuel Byck). Also featured were Darlene Bel Grayson, James Clow, Justin Hagan, Sanne L. Nathan, Marshall Pailet and Ray Wills.
The creative team for the June 2 reading included musical director Paul Gemignani, assistant musical director Paul Ford, assistant director Trip Cullman, stage manager Ira Mont, and casting/artistic development director Jim Carnahan.
Sondheim's office did indicate that "they [Roundabout] are the ones doing it," adding that if it's "fine with the boss," there's no real obstacle to the revival production.
-- By Murdoch McBride