Playbill | From the Program Director

Joshua Reaves Headshot

Welcome to TheatreFEST 2022

and to our production of Assassins! After two long years TheatreFEST is back. University Theatre is happy to welcome back our long-time TheatreFEST supporters as well as welcome those new to our shows.

I am excited for you and for the experience you are about to have with this production. This cast, the musicians, this crew, and the staff have put together an amazing piece of theatre. And, we acknowledge, a challenging piece of theatre. As you can see the scenery is elaborate and massive. You will see the intricacy of the lighting and costumes and you’ll hear the complexity in the music. And the cast is something to behold.

Assassins shines light on some of the darkest days of our country’s history as we examine nine assassins or would-be assassins. The show does not celebrate these characters or excuse their actions, but provides us a discordant and satirical hour and a half to scrutinize these individuals and the acts they committed.

During an interview with the show’s composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and librettist John Weidman at Yale University, professor Daniel Egan stated:

Mounting this musical at this time in this country in this place… speaks volumes about the role of art in assessing the national conversation and how we change — or not — across time.

That interview was in 2017 and professor Egan’s statement continues to reverberate today in 2022. This production of Assassins examines both the characters in the show and the cyclical nature of violence in America. 

Assassins presents difficult content but does so in a disarming way. The performers carry the weight of these characters with professionalism, humor, and grace. At the end of the your experience we hope the performance does what all good art should do: invite conversation.

Joshua Reaves
Program Director, University Theatre