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MCT musical that's to die for

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By MOLLY DUERIG

Students finding themselves already sufficiently overwhelmed with schoolwork are invited to let off some steam this weekend with tomorrow night’s opening of Meadville Community Theatre’s latest production: “Assassins.”

Originally written by Stephen Sondheim, the captivating musical tells the story of nine infamous citizens who each either killed or attempted to kill an American president. Making up the cast is a fairly even mix of community members, Allegheny students and high school students from around the area.

Photo provided by Jessica Surdyk

Photo provided by Jessica Surdyk

Directing the show is Jessica J. Surdyk, who explains that the production is by no means “cookie–cutter” theatre.

“It isn’t a solely theatrical work,” Surdyk said. “There is a strong historical element present as well. Sondheim incorporated every little tidbit of true history that he could find into the material.”

Robert Russell, a part-time Allegheny professor playing the role of John Wilkes Booth in the production, agrees.

“The history books we’ve read are wrong about a lot of things,” Russell said. “Our common perception of Booth, that he was a lunatic and a drunk, is incorrect. It has been really interesting to discover what he was really like.”

Russell hopes that the production will “open people’s eyes to the assassins’ point of view.”

Surdyk urges anyone and everyone to attend; in her words, “this cast deserves to be sold–out every night.” However, she also advises against bringing small children, as the production involves some strong language and obviously some violence.

“Nothing too gory or explicit, though,” Surdyk added.

“Seeing all of the numbers come and flow together during the past couple of weeks has been really exciting for me,” said Steve Reaugh, ’11, who plays Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President James Garfield. “I highly recommend anyone studying history, theatre or English to come, especially since there isn’t a lot of musical theatre here at Allegheny.”

Tomorrow’s opening performance begins at 8:15 p.m. at the Meadville Community Theatre in Oddfellows.

The show will run for the next three weekends on Friday and Saturday nights at that same time, in addition to one matinee taking place on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2:15 p.m.

Tickets are $12.50 for students and $15 for adults. Reservations can be made by calling the MCT box office at 814-333-1773.

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MCT musical that's to die for