The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of Performing and Visual Arts-Theatre and Pioneer Players will continue their season with the Tony-award winning musical, “Assassins.” With a book by John Weidman and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this 1990 one-act, semi-revue uses the framing device of an all-American, yet sinister, carnival game, portraying a group of historical figures who attempted – successfully or not – to assassinate presidents of the United States.
Performances are Wednesday, March 29, Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 2 at 2 p.m. There also will be a special matinee at 11 a.m. on March 29. All performances will be held in the Brodbeck Concert Hall at the Center for the Arts of the UW-Platteville campus.
According to Ann Farrelly, professor of theatre and director of the production, “This work explores what the presence of these assassins in American history says about the ideals of the country, the fragility of democracy, and the dark side of the American experience. Even though the musical was written over 30 years ago, I think it is more relevant than ever. Sondheim’s most controversial show is a case study in how entitlement can lead to extremism and how extremism can lead to political violence.”
The cast includes Elyse Harvancik as The Balladeer, Daniel Sniff as The Proprietor, Dylan Schattschneider as John Wilkes Booth, Isabelle Sander as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Alex Bartel as Sam Byck, Jamie Wodack as Charles Guiteau, Charles Soper as Giuseppe Zangara, Elijah Fuchs as Leon Czolgosz, Grace Silvestri as Sara Jane Moore, Rawley Schulz as John Hinckley, Max Konop as Lee Harvey Oswald, and Emma Felland as Emma Goldman. Tatianna McGruder, Shelbi Endres, Ethan Gallo, Madison DeLashmutt, Olivia Laughlin and Meghan Conley make up the show’s ensemble. Student crew members include Ky Kreul, Kevin McCarthy, Matthew Siekierski, Aaron Brown, Nicole Kisley, Aurora Schmid, Kelli Pugliese, Isabelle Emerson, Kyra Liske, Monardo Faria and Alyssa Long. Students in the pit include Samantha Benz, Guinevere Diehl, Abigail Hartline, Jordan Larson-Sell, Matthew McCarthy, Lewis Molinaro, Madalyn Scott, Aaron Simays, Chris Thomas III, Ashley Tyson and Alex Vesperman.
Added Farrelly, “I am so proud of these students. Sondheim is never easy, but they have done an amazing job. They have put in the work. As with all of our productions, students from all over campus, in all three colleges, are represented both onstage, backstage and in the pit. It truly is one of the largest cross-campus collaborations. Non-majors continue to make a major impact, and that is something that sets UW-Platteville apart from other schools – the opportunity for all students to participate in a variety of interests regardless of their degree pursuits.”
Joining Farrelly on the production team are UW-Platteville faculty and staff Connie SaLoutos Furlan, choreographer; Stephanie Klein, music director; Jeffrey Strange, scenic designer; Sarah Strange, costume designer; Josh Lawyer, lighting designer; and Rob Shepherd, conductor and rehearsal accompanist. Students on the production team include Jessica Kott as stage manager, Seth Reilly as technical director, Anna Fassbinder as makeup designer, and Amber Bornheimer as assistant scenic designer. UW-Platteville alum, Chris Kott, will be the sound designer and engineer.
“This team is incredible. I am so lucky to have such talented artists with which to work,” said Farrelly. “When Stephen Sondheim passed away in late 2021, we knew we wanted to honor his legacy with a production of one of his musicals this season. Other events from 2021 led us to this particular show. This show challenges and confronts us. Our production does the same. That’s good. Art should do that.”
Tickets for the production are $15 for general admission and $7 for students (price includes $2 box office transaction fee). For tickets and information, contact the University Box Office at 608-342-1298 or online at tickets.uwplatt.edu. Ticket prices are the same no matter how they are purchased. Due to the subject matter, this musical is not recommended for children. Plans are subject to change based on health and safety measures that may be in place at the time of the event.