SONDHEIM’S “ASSASSINS” – Ray of Light Theatre is right-on target

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By Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Stephen Sondheim’s ASSASSINS is in town and at its best. Ray of Light’s production plays the Eureka Theatre through June 25th. It is a Sondheim-lover’s musical. And with its notorious record of short but effective runs, it’s best to grab your tickets now. Director Jason Hoover has effectively balanced the show’s combination of vaudeville, fanciful re-enactment, and climactic gunfire. The political and social challenges in the book by John Weidman and the edgy Sondheim’s lyrics continue to ricochet throughout the political landscape. One more time – tell us how you got your gun.

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STEPHEN SONDHEIM

Ray of Light draws from the best of Bay Area talent. The characters in this circle of Presidential assassins are fleshed-out by an appealing ensemble, who are likewise adept with the vocal demands of the score. Musical Director David Möschler delivers Sondheim’s distinct caliber of musical sharp-shooting. The show is unlike Sweeney Todd and its many commercially-successful manifestations. The Tony Award-winning Assassins is an intriguing theatre piece that lacks the glitter and high-stepping production numbers of typical Broadway musicals. But for the cast members – the script and the score are packed with opportunities for playing to the gallery and chewing-up the scenery. For the Sondheim purists, Ray of Light Theatre’s ASSASSINS has hit the bull’s eye.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: ASSASSINS

MEET THE CAST

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STEVEN HESS (The Proprietor), MICHAEL SCOTT WELLS (The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), and DERRICK SILVA (John Wilkes Booth)

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ANNA SMITH (Emma Goldman), DANNY COZART (Samuel Byck),
TOM ORR (Gerald Ford)

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CHARLES WOODSON PARKER (John Hinckley, Jr.), ELIZA LEONI (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), LISA-MARIE NEWTON (Sara Jane Moore)

Some of the outstanding moments include a superb performance by Danny Cozart in the non-singing role of “Samuel Byck”. Speaking into a tape recorder, dressed as Santa Claus, Cozart delivers a long way-angry and vociferous message to Leonared Bernstein. The world can be saved if the composer will just do what he tells him and focus his energy on romantic melodies. For his own part, Sam will better the overall situation by running a 747 into the White House and wiping-out Richard Nixon. Danny Cozart is ready for Prime Time.

Lisa-Marie Newton is first-rate as the totally crazed five-times married ditz from West Virginia, Sara Jane Moore. She’s out to assassinate President Gerald Ford. She and her brand new .38 revolver were barely out of the gun shop when she raced over to the St. Francis Hotel and fired at the President. Had the mandatory background checks and waiting period been in place, the seller might have noticed that the cops had confiscated her other and very-illegal-gun the day before. And Tenor Greg Sottolano turns in a stunning performance as “Charles Guiteau”. The voice is beautiful and his presence is commanding. Sottolano completely captures the startled wide-eyed madness of the murderer of President James A. Garfield. At the gallows, we are almost sympathetic as he sings, “I shall be remembered! I am going to the Lordy…”

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ALEX RODRIGUEZ (Giuseppe Zangara), JOEL ROSTER (Leon Czolgosz)
GREG SOTTOLANO (Charles Guiteau)

Balancing out the amazing cast are Marisa Cozart, Danielle DiPaola, Michael Doppe, Deucalion Martin, Kevin Singer, and Ted Zoldan.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: ASSASSINS

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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