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Assassins (1991 Original Off-Broadway Cast) Cast Recording

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, August 13, 1991
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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Everybody's Got the Right (From "Assassins")William Parry;Terrence Mann;Greg Germann;Jonathan Hadary;Eddie Korbich;Lee Wilkof;Annie Golden;Debra Monk;Victor Garber 6:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. The Ballad of Booth (From "Assassins")Patrick Cassidy;Marcus Olson;Victor Garber 9:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. How I Saved Roosevelt (From "Assassins")Joy Franz;Lyn Greene;John Jellison;Marcus Olson;William Parry;Eddie Korbich 4:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Gun Song/The Ballad of Czolgosz (From "Assassins")Patrick Cassidy;Lyn Greene;John Jellison;Marcus Olson;William Parry;Terrence Mann;Victor Garber;Jonathan Hadary;Debra Monk 7:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Unworthy of Your Love (From "Assassins")Greg Germann;Annie Golden 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Ballad of Guiteau (From "Assassins")Jonathan Hadary;Patrick Cassidy 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Another National Anthem (From "Assassins")Terrence Mann;Victor Garber;Greg Germann;Annie Golden;Eddie Korbich;Jonathan Hadary;Debra Monk;Lee Wilkof;Patrick Cassidy 6:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. November 22, 1963 (From "Assassins")Jace Alexander;Victor Garber;Jonathan Hadary;Terrence Mann;Lee Wilkof;Greg Germann;Annie Golden;Debra Monk;Eddie Korbich10:48Album Only
listen  9. You Can Close the New York Stock Exchange/Everybody's Got the Right (From "Assassins")Jonathan Hadary;Debra Monk;Terrence Mann;Annie Golden;Eddie Korbich;Greg Germann;Lee Wilkof;Jace Alexander;Victor Garber 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 13, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: RCA Victor Broadway
  • ASIN: B000003F3N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,097 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Leave it to Stephen Sondheim to make things difficult for himself. After writing his most accessible mature musical, Into the Woods, in 1987, he collaborated with author John Weidman on an extremely disturbing topic: Assassins, which depicts the various people who tried--with or without success--to kill a United States president. The characters, ranging from John Wilkes Booth to John Hinckley Jr., all express different motivations--love, fame, freedom from tyranny, stomach pain--but are united in their frustration with the idea of the American dream and believe that killing a president is the only way to achieve it. The songs the assassins sing cover a similarly wide range of Americana, including numbers in the style of Stephen Foster and Sousa, and as is common with Sondheim's music, many of the songs could pass for enjoyable casual listening out of context. (Best example: the lovely ballad "Unworthy of Your Love" could have been a hit for the Carpenters, but it's sung by Hinckley to Jodie Foster and by Lynne "Squeaky" Fromme to Charles Manson.) Careful attention, however, reveals a work of penetrating power. In addition to the musical numbers, this original cast recording includes an 11-minute nonmusical scene in which the older assassins confront and goad Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository as JFK's car approaches. Not surprisingly, the original 1991 production of Assassins ran only 73 performances and the show didn't make it to Broadway until 2004. The booklet includes production photos and full lyrics. --David Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

This is one of Sondheim's best scores.
Janet Pailet
Whether its love, politics, economics, or the desire to be famous - these assassins speak of common themes that should appeal to you on many levels.
Brett D. Cullum
John Weidman did the dialogue with Sondheim doing the lyrics and music.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I originally picked up this CD because I was always interested in anything Stephen Sondheim wanted to try out. I consider "Sweeny Todd" to be his operatic masterpiece, but certainly he has no more underappreciated work than "Assassins."
At a carnival shooting gallery the assassins who have tried, successfully and not, to claim the lives of American Presidents come together. Each has their chance to tell their story in their own terms. Sondheim's brilliance is that he allows each assassin their own voice, which is best evidenced on the sweet duet "Unworthy of Your Love" between John Hinckley and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme wherein each bemoans their unworthiness to be loved by, respectively, Jodie Foster and Chalres Manson. Sondheim uses the simple melody in ironic contrast to the true meaning of the lyrics to powerful effect.
The integrity of "Assassins" comes from giving each character their say, from the vitrolic attack upon the memory of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth ("The Ballad of Booth") to the bitter fury of Giuseppe Zangara on his way to the electric chair ("How I Saved Roosevelt").
As John Wilkes Booth, Victor Garber ("Godspell," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Titanic") is the most recognizable name in the original cast, which also includes Jace Alexander, Patrick Cassidy, Terrence Mann and Debra Monk. "Assassins" began performances at Playwrights Horizons in December 1990. John Weidman did the dialogue with Sondheim doing the lyrics and music.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark Andrew Lawrence on January 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
How is it that so many people - even Sondheim fans - do not understand this show?
It is not a traditional book musical, being more like a revue in structure but that should not upset people.
Some seem to think it glorifies (encourages?) assassination attempts. This is nonsense. It does ask audience members to take a critical look at a nation where "any person can grow up to kill the president." Could it be that some people just are not prepared to think about what is really being presented here?
Not liking the show, or not understanding it is fine, but why misrepresent what it is? ASSASSINS was NOT a flop on Broadway: THIS production never played on Broadway. It was scheduled for a limited run off-Broadway in December 1990 and January 1991, and all performances were sold out even before the run began. That makes it a hit! A new production finally brough the show to Studio 54 on April 22 and garnered RAVE reviews, even from the same critics who did not like the show in 1991! (It just goes to show waht an unpopular president and an unpopular war can do to people's perceptions!!)
In telling the stories of American Presidential assassinations (or attempted assassinations) Sondheim uses many American music forms: ballads to cakewalks to marches to bubblegum pop and each segment has its own unique flavour.
The recording is another first rate affair from RCA Victor with excellent program notes, a detailed synopsis, histories of the assassins and a full libretto. For the most part it features only the musical segments but does include the entire final scene: A dramatic showdown between Lee Harvey Oswald and the other assassins. A shame it did not include Sam Byck's two hysterical (in both senses of the word) monologues.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Adams on August 30, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have seen many bizarre concepts for musicals. Some unique. (ie. Witches of Eastwick) Some obvious. (ie. Saturday Night Fever) And Some that are just plain pointless (ie Carrie: the Musical.) But Sondheim with his many talents have displayed to us his knack for the most surreal concepts for musicals ranging from the world of fairy tales, burlesque entertainment, and the true story of a homicidal pair who killed, cooked, and ate their victims. But in Assassins we are given, once again, a new and inventive concept, filled with lyrics and dialogue that's both dark, humorous, melancoly, and disturbingly inciteful. Probably the most powerful scene in the play is the scene enclosed in the CD whereas all the assassins of the past and future egg on Lee Harvey Oswald to turn the gun away from himself and towards the president. Along with an electric and delightful score by Sondheim. Which supplies a variety of contemporary music from each timeframe. And now for the performances. The one that sticks out the most has to be Victor Garber (Titanic, Godspell, Sweeney Todd) as disgruntled southern actor and infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth. and also Terrence Mann (Les Miserables, Cats, Chorus Line) as Czolgosz. But obviously I couldn't mention every single divinely decadent performance. So I'll leave you with the obvious statement that I leave with practically every review I leave. BUY THIS CD. LISTEN TO THIS MUSICAL.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is possibly THE unique Stephen Sondheim show (and certainly the most obvious example of SS making music theatre out of content no one else would ever dream of touching), and thank heavens it was captured so brilliantly for posterity.
The cliche that Sondheim doesn't write melodies is fairly scotched here -- this score is not only a strong contender for the composer's most sheerly tuneful, but a comprehensive musical tour through virtually every conceivable American popular music style from the 1860's onward.
Civil War balladry, barbershop quartets, ragtime, Sousa and Cohan patriotic anthems, Woody Guthrie folk tunes, bubble-gum pop, serial music a la John Cage or Philip Glass, even self-referential quotations, it's all here. The added weight of Michael Starobin's awesome orchestrations only underlines the fact that, merely judged as composition, "Assassins" is a stunning work.
The subject matter, as many have stated, is disturbing and courageously un-commercial, and, post Election 2000, eerily relevant. The famous comment reprinted in the preface to the printed libretto (a theatregoer at the original Playwright's Horizons production was asked by her companion, "Who am I supposed to feel for?", to which she replied "Us. You're supposed to feel for US.")is ever more apt.
The necessary suspension of disbelief is justified by every turn of Jerome Weidman's ingenious libretto and Sondheim's matchless lyrics, and certainly the Texas Book Depository scene, which is both profound and pathetic, and unforgettably chilling.
Still, perhaps the most notable achievement is the rich vein of dark humor which runs throughout, sometimes side by side with the most unsavory of images, and by way of which many of the most potent observations are made.
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