Trotter takes a different angle and makes an even more profound point. Assassins, says Trotter, tells only half the story. It?s very clear on the problem, but the show doesn?t ?offer any hope of change or solution for effecting . . . change.? And there is a solution that Assassins never touches on. Trotter concludes, ?The solution is not found in some right we have to be happy, but in . . . the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.?
It?s true, as Weidman and Sondheim have it, that even our best dreams can drive us to selfishness, blaming others, and worse. But they do not see that cynicism is not the only possible response to corruption. The greatest response is the oldest theme in literature and in life: redemption. And, of course, ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ, wholly undeserved, as our perceived ?right to happiness? is. But this redemption is nonetheless real, and that?s why we have hope. A story that misses the possibility of redemption just can?t be a complete story.
For further reading and information:
Drew Trotter, ?Everybody?s Got the Right to Their Dreams,? Praxis, Summer 2004. (Not available online.)
Learn more about the Center for Christian Study at the
Mark Steyn, ? Raisin? Cain ,? New Criterion, June 2004. Scroll down to the section about Assassins. (See also chapter 10, ?The Genius,? in Steyn?s book Broadway Babies Say Goodnight for one of the best analyses of Sondheim ever written.)
Stuart Duncan, ? Theater Review: ?Assassins,? ?
The following articles are all excerpted on the Stephen Sondheim Society website:
Frank Rich, ? At Last, 9/11 Has Its Own Musical ,? New York Times,
?Ready, Aim, Sing: Assassins Hits Broadway ,? New York Times,
?Prison Assassins review ,? Times Online (
BreakPoint Commentary No. 030930, ? First Things First: The Pursuit of Happiness .?
Alan Jacobs, A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age (