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From 179 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

About the show

Encores! Off-Center presents a star-studded concert staging of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical about the people who have attempted to kill or successfully assassinated U.S. presidents. More…

A carnival ride through the history of political violence, 'Assassins' looks right into the heart of American anger, providing sensational showstoppers for a gallery of U.S. presidential assassins ranging from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald to Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. 'Assassins' offers an uncanny vision of where we are today, where we might be going, and whether everybody really has the right to their dreams. Featuring Tony winners Victoria Clark and Shuler Hensley, and Tony nominees Steven Boyer, John Ellison Conlee, and Alex Brightman.

Member Reviews (179)


Great singing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant
Avg Score

Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great songs (sondheim!), Ambitious, Barebones

See it if you are open to dark musicals. Subj matter & structure are odd, but 2 hours race by. Great singing (Pasquale! Clark!) & historical insights.

Don't see it if you want a full-scale production. Also, space is wrong; even $$$ seats too far. Lipton, who opens, is inept. Still, great dark humor.

Also I was glad I didn't miss this Encores! While the show was not shown at... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Dated, Confusing, Uneven

See it if You are a Sondheim completionist and you have never seen this one before. Some really amazing talent and a couple of not so amazing...

Don't see it if Convoluted, confusing. Long vignette dialogue scenes (which in themselves are funny) that often don't further a plot. Uneven talent.

Also Disappoint to see a boring, insipid Sondheim. Prior knowledge of the f... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Boring, Overly long

See it if You haven't seen it & are a theatre completionist. Pasquale, Clark & Balladeer are standouts.

Don't see it if Very slow & overly long. Story told through vignettes, no character/story development. I was bored & really couldn't wait for it to end.

Also Glad I saw it, I can check it off my list but I will probably never se... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Overrated, Pointless, Poor singing, Great staging

See it if you've never seen it and want to cross it off you Sondheim list. Personally I hated it. Thought most of the performances were poor/bad show.

Don't see it if You think you're missing something. I'm a BIG Sondheim fan and this show is his worst (IMO). I get it, but it just didn't work for me.

Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you want to see stripped-down, concert version of an infrequently-revived Sondheim work, allowing greater focus on the clever words & music.

Don't see it if you'd rather wait to see this intimate musical in a smaller venue than the massive NYCC; you want to see the show in full production.

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant

See it if Audacious subject -presidential assassinations- enshrined in a brillant book by Weidman & edgy score by Sondheim First rate ensemble soars

Don't see it if Kauffman's cagey direction doesn't unite divergent elements of script Bare bones staging harms rather than enhances but material triumphs

Clever, Great singing, Thought-provoking

See it if Sondheim is great. 3 superb portrayals Steven Pasquale, Clifton Duncan (1st time) & Erin Markey. Sound system so improved.No intermission.

Don't see it if House too large. Major problem for me: It still glorifies killing when I see it Off Center still does not match Encores production values.

Brilliant/entertaining sondheim musical about unlikely subject - presidential assassinations - imaginative beyond belief

See it if 4 outstanding performances by Pasquale as John Wilkes Booth, Clarke as Sara Jane Moore, Shuler Hensley as assassin of Pres McKinley

Don't see it if this concert version misses antic carnival atmosphere of fully-staged show; ensemble scenes under-rehearsed

Also Audience applauded wildly at lyrics that described political dysfuncti... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Unsatisfying

See it if you want to see EXCELLENT ACTORS doing excellent work (special shout out to Erin Markey and Victoria Clark's scenes together).

Don't see it if you want to see a production of Assassins that feels like it adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

Clever, Absorbing, Delightful, Exquisite, Funny

See it if You want to see a great show the singing was excellent. Story start with Booth, each one tell and you see the story thur there eyes.

Don't see it if It can be a topic some may not want to see.

Entertaining, Funny, Resonant, Edgy, Quirky

See it if you're a lover of Sondheim or of American history--and in particular, presidential history. You may learn some things you didn't know.

Don't see it if you're a Trump supporter. There's no direct reference to Trump (there is a wink and a nod), but you may still find the story off-putting.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Great writing

See it if you enjoy a very intelligent musical by Sondheim. Simple but effective staging. Great casting.

Don't see it if you feel uncomfortable about the subject of assassination in a musical. This is why I never saw the original show.

Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing, Great music, Disturbing

See it if Wildly interesting concept. Talent abounds on the stage, music and lyrics are brilliant. Better seating is up close and personal.

Don't see it if Doesn't have the emotional punch of previous productions but worth a peak into the creative mind of Sondheim. Venue is too large/impersonal

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great ensemble of actor/singers, Disappointing, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in seeing some of our very best actor/singers perform as an ensemble: Pasquale, Clark, Conlee, and Markey are standouts.

Don't see it if you are not interested in political plays or serious musicals.

Also I am glad that Encores! Off-Center decided to produce one of Stephen S... Read more Read less

Disturbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a controversial Sondheim musical with an excellent cast

Don't see it if the idea of a musical about people who kill or attempt to kill presidents makes you uncomfortable.

Also A musical about assassinations makes me queasy, especially when presen... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you love Sondheim and appreciate some of his less accessible work.This is a terrific, and very timely, production. Kudos to all.

Don't see it if you aren't willing to stretch your theatre mind a bit.It isn't an easy topic, but it is handled beautifully. It will make you think.

Sondheim's quirky killers with a sensational cast

See it if a Sondheim fan's delight. Clifton Duncan a fine Balladeer. Steven Pasquale's Booth was great. Cory Smith was a good Oswald but too handsome

Don't see it if Steven Boyer nailed Hinckley. Erin Markey and Victoria Clark were hilarious. A musical pastiche with clever lyrics

Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Funny, Quirky

See it if you want to enjoy this great cast performing a quirky historically-based musical. Satirical and funny with some wonderful performances.

Don't see it if the unusual subject matter of presidential assassins does not interest you, you prefer to see something more elaborate than concert staging.

Weak proprietor lessens effect of great cast.

See it if You are not made queasy by the subject of assassination. You like Sondheim in his dark period. Steven Pasquale lovely throughline to Harvey

Don't see it if If political themes are not for you. If you prefer full scale productions or want to laugh.

Relevant, Great singing, Great staging, Exquisite, Edgy

See it if you love Sondheim at his wittiest

Don't see it if the story line of Presidential assassins doesn't appeal to you. It's a bit dark

Great singing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if concert staging of Sondheim musical about historical figures who either killed or attempted to kill Presidents; some scenes dark, some funny

Don't see it if don't like dark subjects or don't like humor mixed with dark subjects; need more elaborate staging; can't get over the gun violence aspect

Also The music was wonderful.... Read more Read less

Edgy sondheim, Concert version, Beautiful singing, Patchy book

See it if Quintessential Sondheim: provocative subject, serious treatment, soaring songs, but story is uneven & fails to make its point. But who...

Don't see it if cares? Fabulous talent -Stephen Pasquale's voice is transporting- & classic Sondheim arrangements make the evening. And Sondheim attended!

Resonant, Profound, Intelligent, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you've never seen this Sondheim classic. Rarely performed. Stephen Pasquale is incredible.

Don't see it if the subject matter bothers you.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Great staging, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a Sondheim fan, interested in history; Victoria Clark was hilarious

Don't see it if You want a full production and actors off-book; some interesting casting choices; annoyed by audience members laughing inappropriately

Also This was my first time seeing Assassins and I left disappointed. I don... Read more Read less

Satirical, Great singing, Rudimentary design, Uneven in level of caliber, Cheeky

See it if you like your humor dark, politics served with a satirical and ironic slice of truth, and like "thinking" shows. Some actors were on-book.

Don't see it if you're looking for an elaborate staging (this is more like a concert performance), dislike actors reading from their binders here and there.

Also Stephen Sondheim's Assassins may not be for those who find it distaste... Read more Read less

July 13th, 2017
"The show’s revuelike format allows the authors to vary the palette with mad scenes, melodrama, minstrelsy and vaudeville. In the concert presentation of 'Assassins' is the comedy that works best...Kauffman does not make a legible case for the existence of two narrator figures...Nor has she ...
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July 13th, 2017
"Mordantly funny and disturbing...Pasquale’s is just one of many superb performances in this production...Not everything works smoothly...The actors relied on scripts a little more than usual for Encores! shows these days. There was also an occasional tentativeness to the performances...More gene...
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July 13th, 2017
"Perhaps the most moving and persuasive argument yet for Sondheim and Weidman’s 'Assassins'...The timing of this concert could not have been more stunning. Under Anne Kauffman’s miraculously seamless direction, the ensemble soars; especially Pasquale, along with Shuler Hensley as Leon Czolgosz an...
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July 13th, 2017
"Kauffman made a lot of choices that I disagree with, such as encouraging the actors to scale down the tone of their performances...This is a difficult and challenging musical that works best in an intimate venue...As such, it was never going to work perfectly at City Center. For the most part ho...
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