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Brandon Lee


Brandon Lee plays the part of John Wilkes Booth in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. He is imposing, at times tyrannical, in the role. With direction by Carmen Crussard, Lee evinces the delusions that characterized Booth’s final days, as federal troops pursued him through Maryland and into Virginia over a span of 12 days following his assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

As Lee’s performance adeptly underscores, Booth expected to be heralded as a hero in the South, but was instead reviled and demonized both by the press and his countrymen. He wrote in his journal a week after killing Lincoln, “I am here in despair. And why? For doing what Brutus was honored for. What made Tell a Hero. And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew. Am looked upon as a common, cutthroat. My action was purer than either of theirs. One, hoped to be great himself. The other had not only his country’s but his own wrongs to avenge. I hoped for no gains, I knew no private wrong. I struck for my country and that alone. A country groaned beneath this tyranny and prayed for this end, and yet now behold the cold hand they extend to me.”

As Booth’s ghost in later scenes, particularly those with Lee Harvey Oswald toward the end of the play, Lee is as maniacal and menacing as Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate and eerily reminiscent of Jagger’s Lucifer in “Sympathy for the Devil.”

Lee’s is certainly a performance well worth seeing.

Brandon was seen most recently in the role of William Bloom in Big Fish for Carmen Crussard at Cypress Lake High School. In that production, Assassins cast mate Declan Ireland, played William’s father, Edward Bloom.

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