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About Assassins

A journey through the dark side of the American dream, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony-winning musical Assassins explores the lives of nine men and women who either killed (or tried to kill) one of the Presidents of the United States. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald and beyond, the stories of our country’s most successful and would-be assassins intersect in unexpected ways, creating a powerful, yet unnervingly funny look at some of the most shocking moments in US history.

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Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s killer musical Assassins is back Off-Broadway. Get Assassins tickets on TodayTix.

Centuries of American history collide in the Assassins musical, which follows nine men and women who all attempted to kill a U.S. president. Some were successful; some were not. All, however, come together in the show and goad each other on to commit horrendous acts in the name of the American Dream. Their story is framed as a dark carnival game orchestrated by a Proprietor and a Balladeer, who tell the assassins’ stories and influence the characters themselves. Assassins posits that the American culture that shapes people into the nation’s most revered celebrities — including presidents — isn’t so different from that which shapes its most infamous criminals.

Assassins Off-Broadway premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 1990 to largely negative reviews, closing after 73 performances. However, when the musical moved to Broadway in 2004, it received the complete opposite response: The show received favorable reviews and five Tony Awards to boot, including Best Revival of a Musical. Assassins has also been produced twice in London and, later, back in New York as part of the 2017 Encores! program at New York City Center. Classic Stage Company planned to produce the musical in 2020, but after a year-plus delay, the show is going off with a bang.

What to Watch For

  • The nine assassins (slash-would-be assassins) featured in the musical are John Hinckley Jr, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Samuel Byck, Sara Jane Moore, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Guiteau, Giuseppe Zangara, and Leon Czolgosz. Only four were successful in their attempts.
  • The assassins’ deadly pursuits are reimagined as a shooting gallery game. Shooting galleries have been part of family-oriented American carnivals for more than 200 years. It’s one of the elements in the show meant to comment on the “patriotic,” “classic” American experience and the thin line between its light and dark sides.
  • The Assassins musical was born from a script by Charles Gilbert, Jr. with the same title, about a Vietnam veteran who conspires to kill the U.S. president. Multiple real-life presidential assassins are quoted in his script. Sondheim read Gilbert’s play, liked the concept, and asked Gilbert for permission to use the idea, which he gave.
  • Assassins is one of multiple historical shows playing in New York right now. Hamilton features multiple U.S. presidents (none that were assassinated, though) and a climactic duel in the show’s account of Alexander Hamilton’s life. The Lehman Trilogy, like Assassins, covers centuries’ worth of history regarding the Lehman Brothers financial firm. And Six reimagines the untimely deaths of Henry VIII’s six wives as a pop concert, with the wives telling their own stories as a high-octane girl group.
  • Sondheim is no stranger to making musical comedy out of the macabre. His canon also includes Into the Woods, a mashup of Grimm Brothers fairytales, and Sweeney Todd, whose main characters are a murderous barber and a cannibalistic pie chef.
Start date

November 2nd, 2021

End date

January 29th, 2022




Classic Stage Company


A year and a half after its planned debut, CSC is proud to present its much-anticipated production of Assassins.


Tickets are not currently available. Set an alert and we'll tell you when more tickets go on sale.

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