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Here are some fan's comments
about Kevin's performance as John Wilkes Booth in "Assassins"

Contributed By

Review Date
Sept 19, 2003

Thanks, Sue!!


I've seen a lot of Sondheim and I think that was maybe the best it's ever been. Even without sets and costumes, it was just fabulous perfection. Seems to me it's a rare night in the theatre when everything "clicks". You know, the actors all fit together as a cohesive unit, they all are perfect for their parts and do them well, the direction...spot on, musicians...same thing, and the audience...doing their part as well. Usually something's off maybe just one tiny thing, but something. One actor stands out (either in a good way or bad), the direction is horrible, audience doesn't get it, etc., etc. For me, none of this took place Monday night. This particular production of Assassins was as pretty darned near perfect as it gets. I was glad I got to be seated in that theatre to see it.

Being a fan of Kevin Earley's work certainly didn't hurt the evening, as well. Kevin's beautiful voice and thorough professionalism make every performance of his a joy to watch. It was almost astonishing to me to hear from Kevin that the actors had so little time to prepare and rehearse for the piece (two days rehearsal, with the script arriving one week prior to the performance). He made a particularly fine Booth and sounded great, as usual. If anything, it just made me wish I could see Kevin play the part in a full-blown production of Assassins, having the extra added layers of sets and costuming would make his performance all the more pleasurable. Kevin's so good at what he does though (as were the rest of the ensemble), that those little bits were superfluous. Through his characterization, I could see John Wilkes Booth lying on a bale of hay in a burning barn as he spent his last minutes on earth contemplating what it was he had just done. It was a fine evening of musical theatre that was not only entertaining, but through the subject matter, thought-provoking as well. It doesn't get any better than that.

As an avid theatergoer, I take great pleasure in sitting in an audience that truly appreciates a unique experience. This is what happened on Monday, September 15 at the Freud Theater at UCLA. I count myself among the lucky ones to have attended such a special event. The one night presentation of Sondheim's "Assassins" was one of those magical theatrical events where both the actors and the audience felt as if they were one. Both played their parts well.

I always judge a successful performance as how separated I feel from the real world. How I truly live in the moment and barely notice what goes on around me. I feel as though I am on the stage with the performers. That happens when great theater is performed. That happened at "Assassins." Watching these actors, who had little time to prepare, "become" their role and then sit to await their next cue while slowly melting back to themselves to enjoy another's performance, was an amazing thing to watch.

I especially enjoyed Kevin Earley's (John Wilkes Booth) strong performance. He is the constant thread in the play. He leads the others and persuades others to join the assassin ranks. After his first number, Kevin returned to the chairs set back from the microphones and nodded slightly to the audience who were acknowledging his singing prowess with raving applause. He continued to awe as he took the audience to the book depository in Dallas where we, the audience, sat in silence reliving such a famous moment laid out in a new and twisted manner. We were transfixed. I feel lucky. The best part of life is finding ways to live the moment and live it fully. That is what happened at the theater. It also got me thinking about current events and the world in which we live. Assassination, is not the way out. Voting is.





Contributed By

Review Date
Sept 21, 2003









Review By

Review Date
Sept 23, 2003

It's been a couple of years since I first discovered and fell in love with the "Assassins" cast recording. Masterfully written and biting in its humor and message, I'd always thought it was one of Sondheim's best works. Having missed the opportunity to see this production staged last year at the Knightsbridge, I was thrilled at the possibility of seeing it with Reprise!

Monday night was simply.... incredible. I'd read the entire show, heard the cast recording, but nothing could have prepared me for the impact of finally seeing one of my favorite shows being read by such a stellar cast. Each cast member in his or her own right was outstanding, bringing humor and humanity to historical figures we'd only read about in history books. The insanity of these characters was conveyed very successfully as well as the humor which rang through the audience louder than the gunshots. The audience that night was clearly an educated crowd who had a previous love of the show... It was definitely a perfect night of theatre for all those who experienced it.

Kevin's performance as John Wilkes Booth was quite simply one of the strongest of the entire evening. His calm, and laid back southern demeanor was portrayed well in ensemble pieces like the "Gun Song" and "Everybody's Got the Right", with Kevin adding just the right amount of madness to the characterization that made his passionate featured song "The Ballad of Booth" believable. His voice was simply remarkable, as always, and when he sang, "Let them cry 'Dirty Traitor'..." it was one of the most spine tingling moments of the show. It was bold in its delivery and beautifully sung... and his last "The country is not what it was..." was almost heartbreaking in its delivery.

Toward the end of the show, when Booth confronted Lee Harvey Oswald with the possibility of shooting JFK, once again we saw Kevin struggle with Booth's dark side and he did a great job of allowing Booth's quick temper to emerge. When he yelled at Lee that it matters to him whether or not he killed the president, we saw a desperate man, trying to tie himself in to history... His words were biting and his delivery was chilling. During less passionate moments, Kevin's Booth appeared light and even keeled, almost flippant at times in speaking about assassination attempts - which made the audience understand just how disturbed Booth really was.

The entire cast was a joy to watch and to see Kevin play such a great role in one of my favorite shows was an incredible moment. The specific timing that the actors had made Sondheim's lyrics all the more brilliant, their impassioned singing, and their ability to embody these eccentric characters was just remarkable. In time, specific wonderful moments in the show will sadly be forgotten, but one thing that won't be forgotten is the connection that every person in the theatre felt that night between the actors, the orchestra, and the audience. This was theatre at its absolute best.

Comments originally posted by Owenville on All That Chat on September 17, 2003. Reprinted here with her permission

Kevin Earley, well, really, what can you say, the man's voice is just exquisite. I actually saw him play The Balladeer at Apple Tree in Chicago, the day before he left to go do Oklahoma elsewhere, and he stunned me then and stunned me now.

Comments By

Submitted By


Kevin: Incredible...His Booth was seductive, charming, sly, funny, and beautiful. Heck, he could've probably convinced me to commit an assassination (KIDDING). I always forget what a good actor Kevin (since I mostly retain the music in my head), and my friend, Denise commented after the show that he was not 'too shabby either'.
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