Stephen Sondheim's Most Provocative Work will Open Our 32nd Season
The Cumberland Theatre will open their 32nd Season of entertainment with a limited engagement of the musical Assassins written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. The show will play for just nine performances and is part of a nation-wide celebration of Sondheim’s 90th birthday. “We were very fortunate to be one of the regional theatres to be granted the rights to perform Assassins this year, “said a CT spokesperson. “The show will re-open on Broadway in the spring, so the process was very competitive.”
Assassins is considered by many to be Sondheim’s most edgy and controversial work. The show lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States, in a one-act historical "revusical" that explores the dark side of the American experience with flashbacks, music and, at times, humor. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, Sondheim and writer John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, creating a roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to harrowing acts in the name of the American Dream.
The show won multiple Tony Awards in 2004, including Best Revival of a Musical. Over the years, productions of Assassins have featured many accomplished actors including Terrance Mann, Victor Garber, Debra Monk and Neil Patrick Harris.
The Cumberland Theatre cast hosts CT veterans as well as some new faces making their Cumberland Theatre debuts. Former Cumberland resident Josh Ruppenkamp will return to play the Balladeer, who acts as a narrator for the show. Ruppenkamp has lived and worked in New York City for the past six years. Regionally, he has performed for El Dorado Casino and WV Public Theatre.
Also returning to CT will be Tim Fitzsimons as Charles Guiteau, Matthew Clark as John Hinckley and Matt Kurzyneic as Guisseppe Zangara. Fitzsimons was last seen on the CT stage as Jack in Reefer Madness the Musical and recently finished a stint performing for Knotts Berry Farm in California. Clark is originally from Frostburg and is a recent graduate of the Theatre Program at West Virginia University. He was recently seen in CT’s Miracle on 34th Street. Kurzyneic played Norm in last season’s Meteor Shower. He has performed both Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the east coast.
Scott O’Brien will play John Wilkes Booth, Sean Besecker will play Sam Byck and Sean Noonan will portray Leon Czolgosz. All are making their Cumberland Theatre debuts. O’Brien is currently living in New York City. He is a lead vocalist for Opera New York, performing multiple times at Carnegie Hall as well as continuous shows at the Triad Theatre. Besecker is from Chambersburg, PA and recently worked with the PA Renaissance Faire as part of the fight/stunt team. Noonan is also from NYC. His most recent credits are See How They Run & Next to Normal at the Tibbits Opera House in Michigan, as well as doing a series of tours through Stars Within Reach Productions.
Also starring in Assassins are veteran actor Nicole Halmos as Sara Jane Moore and newcomer Becca Parsons as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. Halmos’s most recent CT appearances include Nat in Rabbit Hole and Rose in Gypsy. Parsons is from Leesburg, VA and studied musical theatre at Columbia College in Chicago.
Also appearing in Assassins in a variety of supporting roles will be Austin James, Tyyonn Powell, Ashley Snow, Kevin Shreve, Karl Vogtman and Caleb Tracy as the Proprietor.
The show is under the direction of Kimberli Rowley with music direction by Chris McCabe. The design team includes Jennifer Clark (costume designer), Rhett Wolford (set designer) and Xander Muldor (lighting designer).
Assassins will celebrate it’s opening night on Friday, February 7th at 8:00 pm. Following the opening performance, a special champagne reception will be held to honor founding board member Shirley Giarritta as she steps down from the Board of Directors. There is no additional cost for the reception. The show will run February 7th – 23rd with Friday & Saturday performances at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available online at www.cumberlandtheatre.com or by calling the theatre at 301.759.4990.
Please note the show does contain adult language, live gun fire and moments of violence. Parental discretion is encouraged.