Tag Archives: Falcon Theater

LCT Review of ASSASSINS

LCT_VThis review has been reposted courtesy of the League of Cincinnati Theatres. For more LCT reviews click here to visit their reviews page.

The Falcon Theater specializes in offbeat performances and Stephen Sondheim’s ASSASSINS certainly fits that bill. ASSASSINS is a dark musical comedy which shines a spotlight on those quirky individuals who shot at presidents, helping us understand their motivations–to help them be happier, because, as the song says, doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy?  Doesn’t everybody has the right to their dreams? Theatrically, this is a very interesting play pitting a series of misfits against the “American Dream” with each assassin justifying their actions from their unique perspective.

Brian Berendts as as John Wilkes Booth. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Brian Berendts as as John Wilkes Booth. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

The Falcon’s production is quite admirable, with a special strength in casting. All were convincing, but particularly outstanding was Eileen Earnest, as Squeaky Fromme–this is the role she was born to play. Other standouts were Brian Berendis as John Wilkes Booth and Patrick Carnes as Guiteau, the man who shot Garfield. Mike Dennis and Helen Raymond Gowers were also of note. The acting was strong overall. However, the cast had difficulty with the challenging Sondheim score. Dramatically, Berendis performed well but missed a number of notes which was a little jarring since he has the biggest part. The singing will, no doubt, improve as the show continues. I still find canned music to be disruptive but the singers were in sync with the score.

This was an unusually large cast for the small Falcon Theater stage and it is always an interesting challenge to choreograph the movements on and off the stage. The set, designed by Jared Doren, aptly resembled a carnival shooting gallery and the lighting was unique, especially at the moment of the successful assassinations. Overall, I recommend the show although it is a dark look at the underbelly of American society.

For more information on the production, click here.

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ASSASSINS Review

Brian Berendts as John Wilkes Booth, Patrick Carnes as Charles Guiteau, Kyle Taylor as Guiseppe Zangara, Hamilton Moore as John Hinckley, Jared Earland as Lee Harvey Oswald, Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme, Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck, Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore & Michael Dean Conley as Leon Czolgosz. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Brian Berendts as John Wilkes Booth, Patrick Carnes as Charles Guiteau, Kyle Taylor as Guiseppe Zangara, Hamilton Moore as John Hinckley, Jared Earland as Lee Harvey Oswald, Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme, Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck, Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore & Michael Dean Conley as Leon Czolgosz. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Links to all reviews can be found using the REVIEWS link at the top of the page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my Facebook fan page. You can also receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

ASSASSINS presented by Falcon Theatre through June 13. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Saturday performance.

Andrew Maloney as Balladeer & Patrick D. Carnes as Charles Guiteau. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Andrew Maloney as Balladeer & Patrick D. Carnes as Charles Guiteau. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Falcon closes out their season, and celebrates their 25th anniversary, by remounting the blockbuster musical, ASSASSINS. Director Jared D. Doren has assembled a strong cast to bring this Sondheim musical about those who have attempted, some successfully, to kill a President of the United States.

Hamilton Moore as John Hinckley, Brian Berendts as John Wilkes Booth, Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck, Jared Earland as Lee Harvey Oswald, Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore & Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Hamilton Moore as John Hinckley, Brian Berendts as John Wilkes Booth, Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck, Jared Earland as Lee Harvey Oswald, Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore & Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The roster of assassins is visually diverse and all fit their roles very well. Across the board, the individual characterizations are very strong and believable. Brian Berendts brings a great intensity to John Wilkes Booth. Patrick D. Carnes does a great job selling his character’s number, “The Ballad of Guiteau.” As Leon Czolgosz, Michael Dean Conley is spot on with his passionate “bottle speech,” and the scene he shares with Emma Goldman (played by Helen Raymond-Goers) is very well-done and emotionally strong. NKU senior Kyle Taylor impresses as Giuseppe Zangara. Jared Earland handles the role of conflicted Lee Harvey Oswald very well. Mike Dennis does solid work as sloven, Santa-suit clad Samuel Byck. CCM’s Hamilton Moore gives a strong showing as awkward and sullen John Hinckley. Eileen Earnest as “Squeaky” Fromme and Danielle as Sarah Jane Moore make a great comic duo, bringing some nice levity to dark-toned show.

The remaining cast includes Joe Hornbaker as the somewhat creepy Proprietor, there to encourage the killers’ darker natures. As the Balladeer, Andrew Maloney holds a strong stage presence and establishes a good rapport with the audience. Young Joey Olberding handles his multiple stage appearances well and throws a very believable screaming fit with mom, Sarah Jane. Solid ensemble support from Aiden Marie Sims, Raymond-Goers, Mike Fielder, Russ D. McGee and Olberding.

Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Director Doren excels in getting believable and emotionally-true performances out of his actors. He has created many visually-strong stage pictures with his blocking and the show flowed well throughout. The scene in the book depository had a great intensity to it and was a personal favorite. Performed without an intermission, the pacing worked well. There were times when the heavy subject matter slowed things down a bit. The cast should be conscious about bringing that energy level back up when the story switches to a new scene.

Due to the large cast and the limited backstage space, recorded music tracks are used. Given the carnival theme of the show, I thought the tone of the music worked. The cast, under the music direction of Steve Goers, handles Sondheim’s difficult score well. Here and there, several soloist went flat once or twice, but overall the cast sounded strong.

Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme & Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore . Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme & Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore . Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Behind the scenes, the costume design by Tara Williams, wig design by Lisa Dirkes and dialect consulting by Tyler Allessi contributed much to the look and sound of the characters. The simple set design, also by Doren, worked well and was complimented by the lighting design of Ted J. Weil.

Michael Dean Conley as Leon Czolgosz and Helen Raymond-Goers as Emma Goldman. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Michael Dean Conley as Leon Czolgosz and Helen Raymond-Goers as Emma Goldman. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

I did have a little trouble hearing Goldman during her scene with Czolgosz. Moore was a little soft at the beginning of his solo “Unworthy of Your Love” and didn’t quit match his volume to Earnest when the number became a duet. I also wondered my Oswald was the only successful assassin not to get the target sound effect and flashing lights.

Overall a strong and engaging production. I expect the remainder of the run to sell out, so reserve your tickets early. It might be time for Falcon to think about adding a Sunday matinee and/or Thursday performance to their runs. :) Congratulations on a job well done.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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Auditions Announced for SILENCE THE MUSICAL at Falcon Theatre

FT_logoFalcon Theatre announces open auditions for SILENCE! The Musical
Directed By Ted Weil, Music Directed by Sherry McCamley

Tuesday, June 23 & Wednesday, June 24
7:00-9:00 PM

  • Bring 16 bars of a song (along with sheet music for the accompanist) and be prepared to read from the script.
  • No appointment needed.

SILENCE! The Musical is a spoof of the film The Silence Of The Lambs and, as such, is performed with a comedic leaning toward the actors in the original film.  We aren’t looking for faithful imitations, but the production will strive to highlight certain characteristics that defined the roles.

  • Recommended Cast Requirements (these are suggestions only…actual casting may vary):
    Clarice Starling 25-35, Caucasian female. She is a mix of tough and sexy. West Virginian accent. Belt/mix to C (optional to E-flat). Alto/Mezzo-soprano.
  • Dr. Hannibal Lecter 40s-50s, Caucasian male. An intelligent, psychiatrist with a taste for all things of class and high society, not to mention all things human. Tenor/Baritenor, to A-flat with a strong lower register. Think Evil Gilbert & Sullivan.
  • Buffalo Bill 30s to early 40s, Caucasian male. Must be an extremely strong comedic actor who can do a Mid-Western accent. Baritone to G (opt. to A) with a strong lower register.
  • Catherine/Senator Martin/Lamb 20s-30s, Caucasian female. Strong comedic actress. Larger physical build a plus, but not necessary. High belter with strong soprano to A/B.
  • Crawford/Papa Starling/Lamb 40-50, Caucasian male. Head of FBI. Baritone/Bass to E- flat.
  • Dr. Chilton/Cop/Lamb 30s-50s. Male, any ethnicity, to play the smarmy Dr. Chilton and multiple roles. Baritone to E-flat, with strong upper register.
  • Ardelia/Lamb 20s-40s, African-American female, to play multiple roles. Mezzo- soprano/Alto.
  • Pembry/Lamb 20s-40s. Male, any ethnicity, to play multiple roles. Tenor to A.

Production Dates:  Sept 25-Oct 10, 2015

For questions, contact Ted Weil at tweil@falcontheatre.net.

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Regional Premiere of SILENCE! The Musical Opens Falcon’s Next Season

FT_logoFalcon Theatre is proud to announce a change to our 2015-2016 season. We have just secured the rights to product SILENCE! The Musical.

SILENCE! The Musical
Music and Lyrics by Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan
Book by Hunter Bell.

This unauthorized parody of Silence of the Lambs premiered in 2005 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival and went on to an Off-Broadway run, garnering awards, including Time Magazine’s Top 10 Plays of 2011 and the 2012 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical.

Falcon will open our season with SILENCE! The Musical in September 2015 and we’re thrilled to be the first in the area to produce this musical. “Falcon has been following the amazing journey that SILENCE! The Musical has taken from a New York Fringe Festival piece to Off-Broadway, and we’ve been excited about the prospect of bringing this show to the Greater Cincinnati area from the very beginning. We’ve waited through the show’s meteoric rise in New York and, now that we’ve finally been able to bring the show to our stage, we knew it was a perfect season opener” says Ted Weil, Falcon’s Artistic Director.

In case you need your musical fix earlier, don’t forget that ASSASSINS, the classic Sondheim musical, wraps up our 2014-2015 season starting May 29 and running through June 13 2015.

Don’t forget the rest of our 2015-2016 Season:

SILENCE! The Musical
NEXT FALL
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LENANNE
PRELUDE TO A KISS
THE MYSTERY PLAYS

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ASSASSINS Runs May 29-June 13

FT_Assassins logoASSASSINS
Presented by Falcon Theater
May 29-June 13
Newport

Directed by Jared Doren
Music Directed by Steve Goers

Cast: Brian Berendts as John Wilkes Booth, Patrick Carnes as Charles Guiteau, Michael Dean Conley as Leon Czolgosz, Helen Raymond-Goers as Emma Goldman, Kyle Taylor as Guiseppe Zangara, Jared Earland as Lee Harvey Oswald, Mike Dennis as Samuel Byck, Hamilton Moore as John Hinckley, Eileen Earnest as Squeaky Fromme, Danielle Muething as Sara Jane Moore, Joe Hornbaker as Proprietor & Andrew Maloney as Balladeer
Ensemble: Aiden Marie Sims, Helen Raymond Goers, Mike Fielder & Russ D. McGee

Sondheim’s darkly entertaining musical is a classic of modern musical theater. Falcon first produced this show in 1998 to rave reviews. It helped define our path toward the future and established us as a powerful voice in Greater Cincinnati theater. To celebrate our 25th anniversary season, we’re bringing this show back for an entirely new production. Join is as we welcome back John Wilkes Boothe, Squeaky Fromme, Sam Byck, Lee Harvey Oswald and all the other unsavory characters who ever decided that their path to greatness lay in the assassination of an American President. It’s a different look at some historical events and one you won’t soon forget.

  • Fri-Sat, May 29-30 at 8pm
  • Fri-Sat, June 5-6 at 8pm
  • Fri-Sat, June 12-13 at 8pm

Official page |

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