Assassins

Louise had a featured role comically portraying Sara Jane More, one of Gerald Ford's would-be assassins, at Donmar Warehouse from 29 October 1992. It should be noted that nearly all the major characters in this Sondheim musical are loosely based on historical people.

 

Cast

The Proprietor - Paul Bentley

Leon Czolgosz - Jack Ellis

John Hinckley - Michael Cantwell

Charles Guiteau - Henry Goodman

Giuseppe Zangara - Paul Harrhy

Samuel Byck - Ciaran Hinds

Lynette (Squeaky) Frome - Catheryn Bradshaw

Sara Jane More - Louise Gold

John Wilkes Booth - David Firth

The Balladeer - Anthony Barclay

David Herold - Kevin Walton

Bystanders - Paul Bentley, Michelle Fine, Sue Kelvin, Gareth Snook and Kevin Walton

Emma Goldman - Sue Kelvin

President James Garfield - Kevin Walton

James Blaine - Gareth Snook

President Gerald Ford - Paul Bentley

Lee Harvey Oswald - Gareth Snook

 

Production Team

Music and Lyrics - Stephen Sondheim

Book - John Weidman

Original Production – 27 January 1991, Playwrights Horizons, Off-Broadway, with Debra Monk as Sarah Jane Moore.

Director - Sam Mendes

Set and Costume Designer - Anthony Ward

Lighting Designer - Paul Pyant

Musical Director - Jeremy Sams

Performance MD - Mark W Dorrell

Rehearsal pianist – Kate Young

Sound Designer - John A Leonard

Costume Supervisor - Christine Rowland

 While this American musical has played London’s West End, it has never actually played Broadway itself, always being deemed unsuitable. Therefore this production at the Donmar Warehouse in London’s West End is probably the most major production to date.

The Donmar Warehouse Theatre takes it’s name from a combination of Donald Albery and Margot Fonteyn.

Ordinarily Mark Dorrell was rehersal pianist as well as performance MD, but for a rehearsal where he was unavailable as rehersal-pianist Kate Young had to deputise.

Michael Cantwell, Louise Gold, Gareth Snook and Michelle Fine had appeared together earlier in year in another Stephen Sondheim musical, Merrily We Roll Along (Stage Production) and on that cast’s Merrily We Roll Along (Recording).

John Weidman had previously contributed to the revised book of Anything Goes, that Louise Gold appeared in, in 1990, and which Louise Gold, starred in a studio cast recording of .

Louise Gold and David Firth had previously appeared together in The Metropolitan Mikado, and it’s highlight’s concert Ratepayers' Iolanthe & Metropolitan Mikado. They went on to appear together in Man Of La Mancha.

Louise Gold, David Firth and Gareth Snook went on the appear on the JAY/TER recording of Anything Goes (recording) - Website Recommended Album

Louise Gold and Mitchelle Fine were reunited on the JAY/TER recording of Stop The World I Want To Get Off.

Louise Gold and Gareth Snook later appeared on the JAY/TER recording of On The Town 

Louise Gold, Gareth Snook, and, Michael Cantwell on the JAY/TER recording of Cabaret 

Louise Gold and Kevin Walton had previously appeared in The Lost Musicals production of By Jupiter and were reunited in the film Topsy Turvy . They can be heard on the Topsy Turvy (Soundtrack album)

Michael Cantwell and Louise Gold were reunited several years later in One Touch Of Venus, and later as members of The Company Of Mary Poppins in a late night FUNdrasing special.

Henry Goodman and Louise Gold have been reunited a couple of times since, in a radio production of Let ‘Em Eat Cake, and The Lost Musicals production of that show’s predecessor Of Thee I Sing.

Ten years later, Louise Gold, Henry Goodman, and Paul Bentley were reunited in the Sondheim musical Follies which also had a book by John Weidman.

Louise Gold and Paul Bentley went on to appear together in Kiss Me Kate and on the radio on Ned Sherrin’s Review Of Revue

Paul Bentley appeared in Regents Park 70th Anniversary Gala. His recording credits include 100 Hits Musicals.

Louise Gold has gone on to star in the inaugural production of The Water Babies and appear Noises Off  both in directed by Jeremy Sams.

Louise Gold also went on to appear in the stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which Jeremy Sams adapted and Anthony Ward did the designs for.

Louise Gold spoke about her work on this show on Tim McArthur Interviews, and, Dead By 12.

Louise Gold, and, Mark Dorrall went on to contribute to the Side By Side By Sondheim 30th Anniversary Gala, in which Stephen Sondheim himself put in an appearance.

Henry Goodman went on to appear in A Love Letter To Dan.

Michelle Fine may have gone on to appear in Dear Ralph.

Rehearsal pianist Kate Young went on to MD the first Landor Theatre production of Assassins.

Paul Bentley, Michael Cantwell, and Louise Gold have gone on to appear together in Mary Poppins.

Kate Young had previously been a dep pianist on The Pirates Of Penzance (Stage prodcution), she went on to be a dep pianist on Anything Goes (stage show).

Kate Young, and, Gareth Snook may have previously taken part in Thing A Thon.

Anthony Ward went on to work on Oliver!.

Mark Dorrell went on to play for Camberwell Pocket Opera’s First Fundraising Gala.

Stephen Sondheim of course also wrote the lyrics for Gypsy, for which Anthony Ward worked on the 2014 Chichester production which transferred to London in 2015.

 

Critics Comments

 “Their [The female contenders] discussions provide the most entertaining dialog, though it is hard to believe that Ms Moore ,... was quite as pathetic as Louise Gold’s comic portrayal” Penny Appleton, WORDS AND MUSIC, Issue 14, Janaury 1993

 “And, although it’s a no-star ensemble piece, one cannot but single out Henry Goodman’s fizzingly energetic Guiteau, Ciaran Hinds’s morosely self-important Samuel Byck, David Firth’s posterity-concious Booth and the weird double-act of Cathryn Bradshaw and Louise Gold as Gerald Ford’s purative killers.” Michael Billington, THE GUARDIAN, 31 October 1992

 “In a way it is a shame to single out performers because they work so well as a team, but I did find the solo turns of Louise Gold, Paul Harrhy, David Firth, Henry Goodman (both hilarious and chilling at the same time) and Ciaran Hinds quite outstanding.” Peter Gannaway, WORDS AND MUSIC, Issue 14, January 1993

 "Of many achingly funny portraits are those of Moore (Louise Gold)" Graham Hassell WHAT'S ON, 4 November 1992.

 "There's a clutch of excellent performances from Kathryn Bradshaw and Louise Gold as Lynette Frome and Sarah Jane Moore (who planned to eliminate Gerald Ford)" Clive Hirschhorn, SUNDAY EXPRESS, 1 November 1992

  "Henry Goodman and Louise Gold are especially memorable. The sight of Henry Goodman scampering up and down the steps of the his gallows whilst joyfully singing of his fate, of Louise Gold desperately trying to find a gun in the depths of her Mary Poppins-type bag are memories that will linger on" Nigel Howard, PLAYS AND PLAYERS, December 1992

  "The two women who try to shoot a president are a wonderful double act. Cathryn Bradshaw's Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme - meets irresistibly loopy Sara Jane Moore (Louise Gold)." Kate Kellaway THE OBSERVER, 1 November 1992

 “The cast of killers and carers is admirably integrated, so that as a rule it is very difficult to work out which are genuine Americans and which good mimics. The physical casting is very good: Paul Bentley as the devilishly amiable proprietor of the booth, Michael Cantwell as the weedy John Hinckley (who tried to assassinate Reagan for love of Jodie Foster), Henry Goodman was the ebullient Charles Guiteau (who obliterated Garfield and skipped to the scaffold) and Louise Gold as the animated Barby doll Sarah Jane Moore are all at once their characters to life. All the cast can sing too: if not quite with the same unselfconscious athomeness with Sondheim’s style as the American cast, at least close enough to silence all doubts.” John Russell Taylor, PLAYS INTERNATIONAL, Vol 8, No 5, December 1992.

 "Among the individually and collectively remarkable cast - Louise Gold in a gem of a minor part as the chronically chaotic Sarah Jane Moore". Ian Shuttleworth, CITY LIMITS, 5 November 1992

 

Links about Assassins

Theatre Radio’s interview with Louise Gold  http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/news/display?contentId=88986 

TheatreNow.Com interview: Gold On Stage: Louise Gold In Follies: http://www.theatrenow.com/asp/link.htm?news.asp?art=3430&cat=1  This is an interview carried out by Theatre.Com’s Paul Webb, one hot summer’s day, while Louise was appearing in Follies at The Royal Festival Hall. Although the interview is ostensibly about her role in Follies she also talks about her other Sondheim performances (including Assassins), along with: Memphis Tennessee, Political Theatre, and Spitting Image.

City Limits review by Ian Shuttleworth: http://www.cix.co.uk/~shutters/reviews/92126.htm

Somdheim.com page about the show: http://www.sondheim.com/shows/assassins/

Jorge’s page about the show (includes a couple of photographs): http://www.jorgeplace.com/shows_Assassins.htm

 

Return to Site Guide | Return to Stage Musicals |