Music and Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM | Book by JOHN WEIDMAN
Directed by TAPS PhD Alum Karina Gutiérrez

A satirical combination of historical accuracy and creative interpretation, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins is a bold, incisive, and kaleidoscopic musical theatre experience that examines the possible motives and the growing political fanaticism of nine individuals who attempted to or successfully killed an American President. This musical semi-revue frequently blends American folk, pop, and ceremonial music across multiple depicted eras with broader traditional “patriotic” American music to produce a delightfully dark musical that gives voice to each assassin’s hopes, fears, and furies. Blurring barriers of time and space, the likes of John Wilks Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Emma Goldman (to name a few) take center stage to commiserate with one another and audiences alike. But while each figure may quickly be relegated as an outcast by popular narrative, this piece powerfully suggests that the line between principle and fanaticism is thinner than we may be willing to admit.

Content Advisory: ASSASSINS includes profanity, violence, gunshot sound effects, and adult themes

Stanford TAPS seeks to build a diverse cast for this production and encourages members of any race, gender identity, and ability to audition. If any accessibility accommodations are needed please email tapsinformation@stanford.edu for assistance.

In addition to its scheduled performances, this production may have portions recorded for Departmental and University promotional use.

ASSASSINS is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.
Playwrights Horizons, Inc. – New York City Produced ASSASSINS Off-Broadway in 1990
Orchestrations by Michael Starobin
ASSASSINS is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. mtishows.com


A TAPS Main Stage production is a significant time commitment that comes with course credit (TAPS 122P) and requires rehearsals five to six times per week. Not all students will be called for every rehearsal, but participants will be expected to be available for each rehearsal unless they have listed it as a conflict. You can view the Rehearsal and Tech schedules in the right-hand column under “Important Resources.”


Karina Gutiérrez Headshot

Karina Gutiérrez (She/Her/Ella) is a Bay Area-based director, dramaturg, and scholar. As a director and dramaturg, Karina has had the pleasure of working with Bay Area Children’s Theatre, BRAVA, Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire, Huntington Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, PlayGround, Playwright’s Foundation, Shotgun Players, Stanford University, TheatreFirst, Townhall Theatre, UC Berkeley, West Edge Opera, and Word for Word. She is additionally a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, Theatre Bay Area, and a founding member of the Bay Area Latinx Theatre Alliance Network (BALTAN).

Karina received her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Stanford University. Her scholarship concentrates on the intersection of politics and performance. She is currently a professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre and Dance and Santa Clara University.


Auditions will be held as 15-minute individual timeslots. If you are unable to attend auditions in person, a video submission can be sent in via Google Drive link to tapsinformation@stanford.edu by March 1st (please also fill out the audition form)


Please prepare a 1-2 minute monologue of your choosing, as well as a song (16-32 Bars) for a cappella performance.


All Roles are open to people of all backgrounds and genders. Cast members may be asked to play multiple roles.

  • John Wilkes Booth (1838–1865): Assassinated President Abraham Lincoln during a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865. He believed killing Lincoln will save the Confederacy and restore the South to its former glory.
  • Charles Guiteau (1838–1882): Assassinated President James Garfield in the waiting room of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, Washington, D.C., July 2, 1881. Believes he was called by God to follow through with the killing. 
  • Leon Czolgosz (1873–1901): Assassinated President William McKinley during a public reception at the Temple of Music Pavilion at the Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, New York, September 6, 1901. A factory worker who becomes radicalized by anarchist beliefs.
  • Giuseppe Zangara (1900–1933): Disillusioned by capitalism, he attempted to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt as Roosevelt greeted well-wishers in Bayfront Park, Miami, Florida, February 15, 1933.
  • Samuel Byck: Attempted to assassinate President Richard M. Nixon;
  • hijacked a commercial jetliner that he intended to crash-dive into the White House, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, February 22, 1974. 
  • Lee Harvey Oswald (1939–1963): Assassinated President John F. Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963. 
  • John Hinckley Jr. 1955 – ): Attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan as he left the Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C., March 30, 1981.
  • Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme (1948– ): Attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford as he left the Senator Hotel, Sacramento, California, September 5, 1975. She is a devoted follower of Charles Manson and attempts to kill Ford to protest his environmental policies.
  • Sara Jane Moore (1930– ): Attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford as he left the St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, California, September 22, 1975.
  • Emma Goldman (1869-1940) was a Turn-of-the-century anarchist agitator and feminist. 
  • The Balladeer is a narrator figure who provides commentary on the show’s events. A Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger-style folk singer.
  • The Proprietor – A sinister figure who serves as a tempter to the assassins, encouraging them to pursue their violent desires.
  • The Ensemble – A group of actors who portray various historical figures, bystanders, and members of the public throughout the show.


TAPS is also seeking design and rehearsal assistants for this production. Applications are due via email to TAPSinformation [at] stanford.edu. General crew and behind-the-scenes inquiries are welcome as well!

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Auditions Have Passed


WED FEB 28, FRI MAR 01 and 08 (times vary)

Callbacks SUN MAR 10 from 6-11PM


Harry J. Elam, Jr. Theater


Must be logged in on an @stanford.edu account to view

Theater Standards

Rehearsal Schedule 

Tech Schedule


If any accessibility accommodations with auditions or callbacks are needed please email tapsinformation@stanford.edu for assistance.


This production was made possible in part by the Pigott Fund for Drama, the May Ellen Ritter Production Fund, and the Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Fund.