By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council
Assassins is the final performance for the (usual) Suspects inaugural season. Shows are Thursdays through Sundays, 8 p.m. at The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main. Remaining dates are June 23 through July 2 and tickets are close to sold out. Tickets are available online at usualsuspectspresents.com and are just $16.50 plus fees.
Assassins first opened off-Broadway in 1990, and the 2004 Broadway production won five Tony Awards. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour de force combines Sondheim’s signature blend of intelligently stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a panoramic story of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it, embodied by America’s four successful and five would-be presidential assassins.
(usual) Suspects are troupe style artists who freely collaborate, explore, and adventure through creative storytelling to challenge ourselves, our audience, and our imaginations.
The show is directed by Jason Edlen and Christine Edlen-Korneski.
“The audience response has been very positive,” said Edlen.
“It’s the kind of show that hopefully leaves you thinking and starts a dialogue. We had one audience member stay seated in the house after the show was over because they needed a moment to contemplate and reflect. Theater should be transformative and I hope this piece brings that type of experience to the audience. We’ve also had several return patrons in our first week of shows,” he went on to say.
The cast of Assasins includes familiar faces alongside new faces: Alex Christopher McIntyre, Jason Edlén, Ben Riddle, Colton Thompson, Ray Fanara, Elizabeth Curtiss, Bob Reaven-Edlén, Erin Brady, Christine Edlén-Korneski, Charlie Rasmann, Andrew Harth, Bridget Emerson, Elizabeth Carner, Jake DeArvil, Kyle Lincoln, Stephanie Souza Rasmann, and Reimund Storck.
Edlen says plans are well underway for the 2016-2017 season, kicking off with a reprise of their fan favorite, The Rocky Horror Show. Rocky Horror will hit the Nordlof Center’s J.R. Sullivan Theater again this October. There will also be a special one-night-only New Year’s Eve performance. The troupe is planning two more productions in 2017. They are in the process of selecting those shows and hope to make a full season announcement prior to Rocky’s opening in October.
The troupe has been thrilled to contribute to enrichment of Rockford’s booming downtown. The troupe has found the theater design to suit them quite well, saying it is so well-thought-out and versatile compounded with renovations, that performing there is good for performers and audience members alike.
When asked what inspires these actors to work tirelessly to present live performances Edlen said, “We deserve it. Every single one of us, of the founding members, were raised here. This is our home and our community. There has been a real shift from people lamenting what our city lacks to creating what our city needs, and we want to be part of that positive progress.”
Buy your tickets now for the season finale at usualsuspectspresents.com and watch for next season to announced.