Glimpses Of Looniness: ASSASSINS

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

ASSASSINS Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by John Weidman

When the ever venturesome Stephen Sondheim said his new musical would portray people who killed, or tried to kill, U.S. Presidents, even fans of his acerbic wit and nonpareil invention wondered how such a show could be put together. The work that opens off-Broadway this week amply, at times brilliantly, demonstrates how. The question that lingers is why.

Assassins is a sketchbook, sparse and almost forgettable in its musical elements, dominated by skits that would have been too extreme for Saturday Night Live in its heyday. The linking idea is...

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