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Assassins (1991 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
Assassins (1991 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
56 used & new from $0.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sondheim at his best, September 30, 2001
In my mind, this is undoubtedly one of Sondheim's best scores - only 'Sweeney Todd' as far as I can see is better (I heartily recommend that too). Although there are only 9 songs each of them is fantastic in every aspect - wonderful lyrics that are biting, thoughtful and heart-breaking in turn, superb music that shows a mastery of American folk-music pastiche and gut emotional colours. This play deals with thorny issues and the songs truly provide an insight into the mechanics of the Assassins' minds, as well as the larger ideas - such as the American Dream and the First and Second Amendments - in question here. My personal favourites are the menacingly vaudeville "Everybody's Got the Right", the toe-tapping hoedown "Ballad of Czolgosz" and the zenith of pop-folk heart-string pluckers "Unworthy of Your Love".
However, the thing that really makes this album a must-buy - aside from the great songs, delicious orchestration by Michael Starobin and energetic performances from the cast - is the inclusion of the penultimate scene - all dialogue - in which the Assassins confront Lee Harvey Oswald. Even without the rest of the play, this turns the CD from a great cast album into a fantastic stand-alone radio play/revue with a strong and relevant theme. It's not often that a cast album for a musical stands by itself as a work of art but this really does.
In summary: if you love Sondheim, buy it. If you love the show, buy it. If you've never heard of Sondheim or the show and are looking for a fantastic new experience in musical theatre, buy it. (This is the CD that got me into Sondheim, and into musical theatre in general) If you like innovative radio plays / musical pieces, buy it. Basically, I really can't think of any reason not to buy it!

by Stephen Sondheim
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
100 used & new from $3.02

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sondheim and Weidman at their best, May 18, 2000
This review is from: Assassins (Paperback)
OK, so Sondheim isn't everybody's favourite composer, but this libretto is perhaps the cleverest, most emotive piece of theatre I have ever read. Sondheim and Weidman deal with a very tricky subject with profound intelligence. It's funny, it's sad, it's frightening, it's tense. Sondheim has always been a pioneer in musical theatre and this, I reckon, is his apex. Worth it for the penultimate scene alone! Oh, and even if you don't like Sondheim, get the soundtrack anyway because EACH of those songs is a classic.

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