Announcing the Renegade Resident Artists Program!

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Renegade Theater Company is proud to announce the next step in our artistic community’s development, as well as the next step in Renegade’s evolution into a professional arts organization committed to supporting and developing local talent: The Renegade Resident Artist Program.

WHAT IS IT?

The Renegade Resident Artist Program is a cohort of local residents with a proven track record of artistic excellence in theater. These resident artists will take a leadership role in Renegade’s 2017 season, dedicating their time and talent to directing, acting or design roles in our productions, as well as working with Renegade to enhance and expand our artistic programming. The Resident Artists will be the faces of the company, and will be asked to attend fundraising events and opening night celebrations.

Renegade will be the artistic home for these artists during the 2017 season. In return for their work and commitment, these artists will receive increased stipends to make their wages competitive with non-union wages in cities like Minneapolis and Chicago, giving top local talent more reason to remain and plant roots in our community.

WHO ARE THEY?

The Renegade Resident Artists will be selected from an open application process. Any artist can be considered for one of the Residency positions, provided they meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicant must have been involved in at least three shows within the local theater community in the past two years.
  2. Applicant must have been involved in at least one Renegade Theater Company production since 2008.
  3. Applicant must not currently be enrolled full-time in a school or university’s full-residency program.
  4. Applicant must be a resident of the Duluth / Superior area and be committed to remaining one for the next 12 months.
  5. Applicant must have a demonstrated interest in the work of Renegade Theater Company. This interest is demonstrated by having attended at least one Renegade Theater Company production in the past 12 months.

HOW CAN YOU APPLY?

Submit your resume to katyhelbacka@gmail.com. Please address in the resume (or optional letter of interest) how you meet all of the 5 stated criteria.

The Renegade Resident Artist Search Committee will select from submitted resumes the artists they would like to advance to the next round of consideration. Those artists will meet with Renegade’s Artistic Director and Search Committee to discuss the program.

FAQs

Q: If selected, can I still work on productions with other companies?

A: Of course! Being a Renegade Resident Artist means you are required to participate in at least one production in our 2017 season, as well as attend all of our fundraising events, opening night post-show parties, and be a visible, vocal ambassador for our work. Beyond that, we encourage you to take other opportunities in our community that excite you.

Q: If not selected, can I still work with you?

A: Of course! While the Renegade Resident Artists will be paired with the roles and positions in productions that interest them first, the remainder of our cast and crew positions will be open to all as usual.

Q: Is this a one-year thing?

A: 2017 is the pilot season for the Renegade Resident Artists, and was made possible thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. Our plan is to expand and enhance our programming and fundraising efforts to keep the program going for as long as Renegade is going.

Q: If selected, do I need to reapply for 2018? If not selected, can I reapply for 2018?

A: Yes and yes. We will ask the community of artists to reapply each year for the Renegade Resident Artist program to ensure that our Resident Artists are passionate about our work and at the top of their fields.

Q: Is this only open to actors?

A: No! We are happy to accept applications from actors, directors, and designers and stage managers. We have no quota or pre-design on what type of artists we take or how many of each type of artists we will take. We are looking for passionate, talented artists whose work will pair well with our 2017 season and program.

The first year of the Renegade Resident Artists program has been funded by the Knight Foundation Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

Get Ready For Improv Auditions!

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We’re holding OPEN AUDITIONS for the Renegade Improv team this Saturday, September 10th at noon and Monday, September 12th at 6pm on stage at the Zeitgeist Theater. Come down, learn a few games and give it a try. We’ll be selecting some of you to join our ever-expanding Improv program as Featured Players, where you’ll spend your weekends learning the ropes on stage and behind the scenes.

For more information on what we’re looking for and what you can expect if you make the team, plus a downloadable audition form you can fill out in advance if you want to impress us with your time management skills, CLICK HERE!

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – Charles Guiteau

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, Charles Guiteau as played by Nathan Payne!

Charles Guiteau was born on September 8, 1841 in Freeport, Illinois. The fourth of six children, Guiteau was raised in Freeport and Ulao, Wisconsin. After a failed attempt to attend the University of Michigan, Guiteau joined the Oneida Community in New York, a controversial religious sect his father belonged to. He then obtained a law license in Chicago and started a firm with an inheritance from his grandfather. After that endeavor failed, he turned to theology and then politics.

After writing a hackneyed speech in support of President Garfield, Guiteau insisted he be awarded with an ambassadorship in Paris. Garfield’s staff grew weary of Guiteau’s repeated requests and eventually told him never to return. Filled with righteous indignation, he shot President Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station on July 2, 1881. Garfield died from his wounds on September 19.

Charles Guiteau’s trial was a media circus, with the defendant viewing himself as something of a celebrity. He claimed he was legally but not medically insane at the time of the shooting and was dismayed to be found guilty on January 23, 1882. Guiteau was sentenced to death by hanging on June 30, 1882.

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – Sara Jane Moore

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, Sara Jane Moore as played by Mary Fox!

Sara Jane Moore was born on February 15, 1930, and grew up in Kanawha County, West Virginia as one of five children born to Ruth and Olaf Kahn. She was said to be a quiet child who was fond of music. At Stonewall Jackson High School, she belonged to the drama club and starred in the school play.

After high school, Moore went through a series of failed marriages and wound up involved in radical leftist groups in the San Francisco Bay area. She worked as a volunteer bookkeeper at People in Need, a $2 million food-distribution program created by Randolph Hearst in an attempt to placate the Symbionese Liberation Army, which had abducted his daughter, Patty Hearst, in February 1974. During that time, Moore was also working as a paid informant for the FBI.

In 1975, she waited for over three hours outside the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, where President Gerald Ford was giving a speech to the World Affairs Council. As he was about to climb into his limousine, Moore fired a shot at the president, but the bullet flew over the president’s head, ricocheted off a wall and wounded a cab driver. Moore was wrestled to the ground by an onlooker. The shooting came only 17 days after an attempt on Ford’s life by Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.

Moore said her attempt on Ford’s life was made in hopes of triggering a revolution. “I finally understood and joined those who have only destruction and violence for a means of making change – and came to understand that violence can sometimes be constructive,” she said at her sentencing in 1976.

In 1979 Moore escaped prison by climbing over a barbed-wire fence, but was captured several hours later.

She became eligible for parole in 1985, but it was routinely denied. Over the years, she worked as an accountant in the prison drapery factory and donated her needlework to charity. In 2007, at age 77, she was released on parole.

(Courtesy of Biography.com)

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme as played by Emily Sue Bengtson!

Squeaky Fromme was born Lynette Alice Fromme in Santa Monica, California on October 22, 1948. Fromme was a child performer, touring with a dance troupe around the age of 10. After high school, Fromme moved to Venice Beach, where she met Charles Manson. She was instantly captivated by Manson, as were all members of his “Family,” and before long Manson invited her to join him.

Fromme moved into the Spahn Ranch with Manson and his followers, taking care of 80-year-old George Spahn, who nicknamed her Squeaky because of the sound she made when he would touch her.

When Manson and his followers were arrested for the multiple murders they committed in August 1969, Fromme avoided police scrutiny because she was not present at either murder scene.

After Manson was convicted, he was moved from prison to prison, and Fromme moved from town to town to be near him. In November 1972, Fromme and four others were arrested after a couple was found murdered and buried in the woods. The other four confessed, and Fromme was released.

Three years later, Fromme’s luck would run out when she pulled a loaded pistol on President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, where she had lived for three years (17 days later, another attempt would be made on Ford’s life by Sara Jane Moore). She was convicted of the attempted assassination and sentenced to life in prison. The trial ended with Fromme throwing an apple at the face of the prosecuting attorney, knocking off his glasses.

In December 1987, Fromme escaped from a West Virginia prison in an attempt to meet up with Charles Manson, who she heard had developed cancer. She was recaptured and imprisoned.

Fromme was released on parole from federal prison in August 2009 at the age of 60, after serving 34 years.

(Courtesy of Biography.com)

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – John Hinckley

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, John Hinckley as played by Matías Valero!

Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on May 29, 1955, John Hinckley and his family moved to Texas when he was just a few years old. From all reports, he was a good student and did well in sports. Things seemed to change for Hinckley in high school, however. He lost interest in sports and friends, choosing instead to play his guitar and listen to music alone in his room.

After graduating high school, Hinckley attended Texas Tech University in the mid-1970s. He quit college in 1976 and moved to California. Hinckley aspired to be a songwriter, but his career never really got off the ground. Later that year, he moved in with his parents at their Colorado home. Hinckley drifted around over the next few years, living in California and then in Texas. During this time, he became fascinated with the 1976 film Taxi Driver starring Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster. The film is about a disfranchised cabbie who wants to save a young prostitute and stalks a presidential candidate. Hinckley saw Taxi Driver over a dozen times.

Hinckley’s interest in the film evolved into an obsession with actress Jodie Foster. In 1979, he bought his first gun and added to his collection over the coming years. He struggled psychologically during this time, and began taking antidepressants and sedatives.

In 1980, Hinckley moved back in with his parents in Colorado. He received some psychiatric treatment, but it didn’t help improve his mental state. Still enthralled with Jodie Foster, Hinckley made several attempts to contact the actress. He was able to get her on the phone twice, but she rebuffed his efforts to make a connection. To win her over, Hinckley came up with a strange scheme—killing a president. He first wanted to shoot President Jimmy Carter, but this plan foiled before he had a chance to get near the president. Hinckley later turned his attention to the next elected president of the United States.

On March 30, 1981, Hinckley made a final attempt to impress Foster. He shot President Ronald Reagan and three other men outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan was leaving the hotel after giving a speech to a gathering of union members when Hinckley fired several shots at the president and his entourage. Reagan’s press secretary James Brady was the most severely wounded—he was struck in the head. A police officer was hit in the back, and a Secret Service agent was shot in the abdomen. Another of Hinckley’s bullets pierced one of the president’s lungs, narrowly missing his heart.

Reagan managed to walk into the hospital after Hinckley’s attack. According to several reports, he explained to his wife Nancy Reagan that “Honey, I forgot to duck.” He underwent surgery to repair his injured lung. Reagan made a full recovery, but James Brady wasn’t as fortunate. He was left with permanent brain damage and confined to a wheelchair. Brady later became a well-known gun control advocate. When he died in 2014, Brady’s death was ruled a homicide.

As for the failed assassin himself, Hinckley was taken into custody at the scene. He later explained that the shooting was “unprecedented demonstration of love” and that he and Foster were like “Romeo and Juliet,” according to The New York Times. Hinckley was put on trial for his crimes the following year. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and then sent to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a psychiatry facility in Washington, D.C.

On August 5, 2016, after being treated at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital for 35 years, Hinckley was released. He was almost immediately photographed eating at a Subway.

(Courtesy of Biography.com)

 

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – Sam Byck

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, Sam Byck as played by Matthew Smith!

Sam Byck, a high school dropout and ex-army soldier, had been down on his luck for some time when he decided to try to “take back the government” for the people, by assassinating the president. His wife had left him two years before, taking their kids as well. He also was having trouble keeping a job and recently had been rejected by the U.S. Small Business Administration for a loan to start his own business, something he was extremely bitter about.

As such, Byck decided a revolution was needed to fix the rampant corruption he perceived, with politicians being more concerned about keeping special interests happy, rather than helping actual American citizens. He also believed the government was conspiring with those special interests to keep people poor.

Luckily for the rest of the passengers on the plane, Nixon, and White House staffers, Byck’s plan was fairly poorly conceived in terms of its execution. Byck made a “bomb”, which was two Valvoline containers filled with gasoline placed inside a suitcase. Obviously this wouldn’t be the most effective incendiary device, especially since it didn’t actually include any means of detonating it.

The bomb wasn’t the only crowd control item he brought with him in his attempt; he also brought a gun. He stole a Smith and Wesson .22 caliber from a friend and pocketed around 40 rounds of ammunition to take with him in his assassination attempt.

On the morning of February 22, 1974, he made his way to the Baltimore / Washington International Airport. Once there, rather than attempt to get on the plane without drawing attention to himself, he encountered a Police Officer, George Neal Ramsburg, in the terminal and shot him in the back, killing him. Had Byck not done this, he may have managed to get on the plane without causing a scene and perhaps could have waited to hijack it until after it was in the air.

In any event, after killing Ramsburg, he ran to a Delta Airlines’ plane, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9. Byck chose this plane as it was about to depart, with passengers in the final stages of boarding.

Another police officer, responding to shots fired, grabbed the fallen Officer Ramsburg’s .357 Magnum and chased after Byck. He did not, however, get to Byck in time and when he first spotted Byck, he was already aboard the plane.

Once on the plane, Byck entered the cockpit and told the pilots he had a bomb and that he wanted them to take off. Before they had a chance to respond, he pointed his gun at the co-pilot, Fred Jones, and shot him in the head. At this point, the pilot, Reese Loftin, decided it would be a good idea to do what Byck told him to do, so he started the engines.

Byck left the cockpit temporarily and then came back and again to shoot the co-pilot a second time, even though he was already dead. He then shot Loftin in the back, at which point the pilot told Byck the doors needed to be closed in order for them to take off, which got rid of Byck temporarily and allowed the pilot to call for help from air traffic control.

This is the point when the officer chasing after Byck spotted him in the plane, with two stewardesses attempting to shut the door at the time. Before they were able to, the officer fired a pair of shots at Byck before the door swung shut, none of which connected. Upon returning to the cockpit after having the doors closed, Byck proceeded to shoot the dead co-pilot a third time and the pilot two more times.

Lucky for the pilot, who ultimately survived, Byck did not get the opportunity to shoot him a fourth time. The officer that had been shooting at Byck managed to hit him at fairly close range through the aircraft door when he saw Byck stand in front of a porthole. After being shot, Byck staggered back and the officer emptied his clip through the door.

Three days later, a letter arrived at the Miami News desk, written by Byck, stating his reasons for the assassination attempt:

It has become evident to me that this government that I love, dearly, will not respond to the needs of the majority of the American citizens.

The majority of the people in government, so called “Public Servants”, are financed by special interest groups and if they are servants, they are servants to these groups.

Now is the time! Independent-minded citizens must take back the government before their government takes complete control of them all.

I, for one, will not live in a controlled society and I would rather die as a free-man than live like a sheep.

Power to the People,

Sam Byck

(Courtesy of TodayIFoundOut.com)

Who Were The Assassins? – Leon Czolgosz

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, Leon Czolgosz as played by Joe Cramer!

Born in 1873 in Detroit, Michigan, Leon Czolgosz grew up poor as one of seven children born to immigrant parents. Czolgosz started working at the age of 10. A short time later, he lost his mother when she died in childbirth.

In Cleveland, Ohio, Czolgosz worked in the wire mills. He was known as a good employee and even received a merit-based pay raise. But Czolgosz eventually lost that job as the wire mill owners sought to cut workers’ wages. During the 1880s and 1890s, tensions ran high between workers and business owners over fair pay and working conditions. Czolgosz witnessed several violent strikes at large factories where he and his brothers worked. He also observed the disparity between the rich and the poor, which deeply angered him, and thus turned to socialist and anarchist teachings.

Czolgosz reportedly tried to join several anarchist groups, but wasn’t accepted by any of them. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1898. Czolgosz then continued to pursue his interest in radical politics on his own. He found inspiration for his future crime in the newspaper. On July 29, 1900, King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci.

When did Czolgosz decide to reenact Bresci’s crime on American soil? That remains unclear. What is known is that he went to Buffalo, New York, in August 1901. Sometime before making this journey, Czolgosz attended a lecture by leading anarchist Emma Goldman. He was already in Buffalo when it was announced that President William McKinley would visit the Pan-American Exposition being held there.

On September 6, 1901, Czolgosz waited for hours to meet President William McKinley. He stood in line with countless others as McKinley greeted his constituents in the Temple of Music at the exposition. As soon as it was his turn with McKinley, Czolgosz pulled out a concealed revolver and shot the president twice. Members of the crowd quickly pounced on Czolgosz. According to American History magazine, the injured president asked for mercy for his assassin.

When he was taken into custody, Czolgosz wrote the following statement: “I killed President McKinley because I done my duty. I didn’t believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none.”

McKinley eventually succumbed to his injuries, dying from gangrene on September 14. Czolgosz was soon arraigned on charges for the murder. Others, such as Emma Goldman, were thought to have been involved in the assassination plot. But it was later determined that Czolgosz acted alone.

On the morning of October 29, 1901, Leon Frank Czolgosz met his end in the electric chair. He was buried in the prison’s cemetery.

(Courtesy of Biography.com)

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – Giuseppe Zangara

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. Next up, Giuseppe Zangara, as played by Alec Schroeder!

On February 15th, 1933, a deranged, unemployed brick layer named Giuseppe Zangara shouts “Too many people are starving!” and fires a gun at America’s president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt had just delivered a speech in Miami’s Bayfront Park from the back seat of his open touring car when Zangara opened fire with six rounds. Five people were hit. The president escaped injury but the mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, who was also in attendance, received a mortal stomach wound in the attack.

Several men tackled the assailant and might have beaten him to death if Roosevelt had not intervened, telling the crowd to leave justice to the authorities. Zangara later claimed “I don’t hate Mr. Roosevelt personallyI hate all officials and anyone who is rich.” He also told the FBI that chronic stomach pain led to his action: “Since my stomach hurt I want to make even with the capitalists by kill the president. My stomach hurt long time [sic].”

Zangara’s extreme action reflected the anger and frustration felt among many working Americans during the Great Depression. At the time of the shooting, Roosevelt was still only the president-elect and had yet to be sworn in. His policies remained untested, but reports of Roosevelt’s composure during the assassination attempt filled the following day’s newspapers and did much to enforce Roosevelt’s public image as a strong leader.

Unsubstantiated reports later claimed that Zangara’s real target had been Cermak and hinted at Zangara’s connection to organized crime in Chicago. Zangara was initially tried for attempted murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison, but when Mayor Cermak later died of his wounds, Zangara was retried and sentenced to death. Zangara died on the electric chair on March 5, 1933.

(Biography courtesy of History.com)

Who Were The ASSASSINS? – John Wilkes Booth

RTC-Assassins-Screen

Renegade Theater Company’s production of ASSASSINS opens on Thursday, September 1st! This multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force combines intelligent, stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a sweeping, darkly comic, and timely tale of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it.

ASSASSINS takes a harrowing look at our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it. Unflinching and daring, the show doesn’t aim to create sympathy. Instead, it asks audiences to dig deeper, to look beyond the one-dimensional monster to see the person inside in an effort to understand why some are compelled to kill.

buy-tickets

To prepare audiences for a musical experience unlike any other, we’re going to devote some blog time to introducing you to the Assassins, as well as to the members of the local community tackling the roles. First up, John Wilkes Booth, as played by Andy Bennett!

John Wilkes Booth was born on May 10, 1838 into a famous acting family. When he turned 17, Booth made his acting debut in Baltimore, with a role in a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. His early performances were such a hit that Booth was soon invited to tour all over the country with a Shakespearean acting company based in Richmond, Virginia.

In the 1850s, Booth joined the Know-Nothing Party, which aimed to limit immigration into the United States. In 1859, he showed his support for slavery by joining a Virginia militia that aided in the capture and execution of John Brown, following his raid on Harpers Ferry. During the Civil War, Booth served as a secret agent for the Confederacy.

In 1862, Booth made his New York debut, this time as the lead in Richard III. The New York Herald described him as a “veritable sensation.” When describing his natural inclination for the role, Booth tellingly expressed his credo with the declaration, “I am determined to be a villain.”

In 1863, just days prior to delivering his famed Gettysburg Address that same year, President Abraham Lincoln watched a performance by Booth in a play called The Marble Heart at Ford’s theater. Soon after a respiratory illness would leave Booth with no choice but to take temporary leave from the stage.

Faced with idle time during his break from the theater, Booth became involved in a conspiracy to kidnap President Lincoln. The plan involved bringing Lincoln to Richmond and demanding either peace or the release of Confederate soldiers as a ransom. Booth enlisted six southern sympathizers, but their March 1865 attempt in Washington, D.C., failed when the president failed to appear where they had anticipated.

Frustrated at seeing his plot foiled, Booth resolved to go to a far greater extreme. On April 14, 1865, just after 10 p.m., Booth shot and killed Lincoln while he was watching a performance of the play Our American Cousin at Washington, D.C.’s Ford Theater. Directly after the shooting, Booth leaped onto the stage and yelled, “Sic semper tyrannis! (Thusever to tyrants!)”

Booth then jumped from the stage, breaking his leg in the process, but managed to make it to his getaway horse before anyone in the shocked crowd could stop him.

(Booth Biography courtesy of Biography.com)