*Assassins* Kills at Kaleidoscope
The recent Spokane Civic Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim's *Assassins* was the adjudicators' overwhelming favorite at the Washington state community theater competition ending today in Walla Walla, winning seven of a possible nine awards:
Best Costumes -- Jan Wanless
Best Set Design -- David Baker
Best Supporting Actor -- David Gigler as John Hinckley
Best Actress -- Marianne McLaughlin as Sara Jane Moore
Best Actor -- Patrick McHenry-Kroetch as John Wilkes Booth
Best Director -- Troy Nickerson
The only two awards SCT missed out on were for lighting and supporting actress.
The *Assassins* production was up against one-hour shows from community theaters in Tacoma, Olympia, Edmonds, Walla Walla, Richland and more. (All had to have set designs confined to a 10-foot-by-10-foot space, set up in 10 minutes, performed in an hour and broken back down in under 10 minutes.)
Congratulations to everyone involved! And now it's on to Tacoma in two weeks for the regionals (against the Lake City Playhouse production of "Forever Plaid," which won in Idaho, and a show from Alaska — and then, one hopes, on to the national competition in Charlotte, N.C.
(Bobo took notes quickly at intermission of *The Cover of Life,* so apologies to anything he got wrong or overlooked. Please write in with corrections.)
A resounding affirmation of the idea that musicals could thrive even in a black box theater. Also, vindication for the idea of doing edgier material "even at a community theater in a conservative town." A longtime labor of love by a very talented director will attract a top-notch cast and result in a riveting show -- even for the folks who are put off by the appearance of somehow "glamorizing" criminals. The fact that some people are/were offended is EXACTLY WHY shows like this should be done. Saying that the theater should bring pleasure — purely and unadulterated, without any admixture of, oh, all those other emotions we feel in life (like anger and confusion and curiosity and sadness) is just a way of confining theater to hidebound, familiar productions. People who solely want escapism aren't the theater's friends -- not really.
OK, off the soapbox. This is the *Assassins* people's moment. Great job!