Actor Denis O'Hare and director Joe Mantello — both nominated this year for their work on the revival of Assassins — were originally scheduled to collaborate on a Roundabout Theatre Company staging of the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical in the fall of 2001. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the decision was made to postpone the show.
"When Assassins fell apart, I was really at loose ends and I didn't know what to do," O'Hare told Playbill On-Line in an interview just before starting rehearsals on Assassins. The actor — who was then in the Roundabout Broadway revival of Major Barbara — went on to perform Off-Broadway in Vienna: Lusthaus (revisited) and Helen (opposite 2004 Tony Award nominee Donna Murphy) before doing a reading of a new Richard Greenberg play.
"You never know, I do a lot of workshops and a lot of readings," O'Hare said. "I wouldn't say that I say yes to everything, but I try to say yes to readings because I like to be exposed to new material and you also never know where anything will lead you. You never know what's going to end up being done. Take Me Out was one of those things where I had done two readings of it before it came to fruition. I wasn't even thinking about it."
The readings of Greenberg's Take Me Out led to a London production at the Donmar Warehouse followed by an Off-Broadway staging at The Public Theater. From the downtown New York venue, Take Me Out transferred to Broadway where it went on to win Tony Awards for O'Hare, Mantello and Best Play.
Following their wins last year, O'Hare stayed with Take Me Out through its run then took some time off to travel to India while Mantello went to work on the Tony-nominated musical Wicked by Stephen Schwartz. Now, the reunited team are set to take another swing at the Tony Awards with the musical Assassins.