Meet The Assassins: Leon Czolgosz

Meet the Actor: Brandon O’Neill

Brandon O’Neill joins the cast as Leon Czolgosz.  He has performed on the ACT stage in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Ramayana for which he received both a Broadway World Award and a Footlight Award, and First Date, which earned him a Gregory Award nomination. He has been seen recently at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Carousel, The Pirates of Penzance, for which he received a Gregory Award nomination, Guys and Dolls which earned him a Footlight Award, and many others.

O’Neill’s regional work includes Seattle Rep (A View From The Bridge), Casa Manana (Miss Saigon), North Shore Music Theatre (Joseph…) and the Ordway Center (Pirates of Penzance and Cabaret). O’Neill originated the role of “Kassim” in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway. His voice can be heard nightly on Broadway and in London as The Voice of the Cave of Wonders. He can also been seen as Uldren Sov in Bungie’s epic video game franchise, Destiny.

Meet the Assassin: Leon Czolgosz

Born in 1873, Leon Czolgosz was the son of Polish immigrants. A steel worker by trade, the poor working conditions and low wages led to him become interested in socialist and anarchist ideologies. After losing his job and battling depression, he immersed himself further into the study of socialism and anarchy, believing that there to be great inequality and injustice in the American system and a complicit government.

Inspired by Gaetano Bresci, a European anarchist that had assassinated King Umberto I of Italy, Czolgosz set his sights on President William McKinley whom he assassinated in 1901. After the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Congress informally requested that the Secret Service provide presidential protection. A year later, the Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for presidential protection.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 18-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Tracy Martin of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Meet The Assassins: Emma Goldman

Kjerstine Anderson WebMeet the Actor: Kjerstine Anderson

Kjerstine Anderson makes her 5th Avenue and ACT debutas Emma Goldman in Assassins. Her regional work includes seven seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Into the Woods (Little Red Riding Hood), The Unfortunates, My Fair Lady, The Servant of Two Masters, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Distracted, Cyrano de Bergerac, As You Like It, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Winters Tale. She was seen at Cal Shakes in King Lear (Cordelia/The Fool) and in the Idaho Shakespeare Festival/Great Lakes Theater Festival in The Taming of The Shrew (Bianca). She was seen recently in Seattle in Book-It Repertory Theater’s Sense and Sensibility (Elinor).


Meet the Assassin: Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism who also interacted several times with Leon Czolgosz. She has appeared as a character in two musicals, Assassins and Ragtime, and has also appeared as a character in multiple films. Known as “the most dangerous woman in America” for her anarchist and feminist  ideals in a conservative time period, Goldman is now recognized as being far ahead of her time. She was a prolific writer, penning countless pamphlets and articles on a diverse range of subjects, ultimately authoring 6 books.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 18-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Tracy Martin of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Meet The Assassins: John Hinckley

Meet The Actor: Frederick Hagreen

Frederick Hagreen  is elated to make his ACT debut playing John Hinckley in  Assassins. His recent Seattle credits include critically acclaimed Come From Away (Seattle Rep); American Idiot, Really, Really (ArtsWest); Jasper in Deadland, Pirates of Penzance (5th Avenue Theatre); Mary Poppins, and Les Miserables (Village Theatre), among others.

Meet The Assassin: John Hinckley Jr.

John Hinckley, Jr. developed an obsession with a young Jodie Foster after watching the 1976 film Taxi Driver, about the same time in his life that he was first prescribed anti-depressants and tranquilizers to deal with “emotional issues.” Hinckley was so driven by his obsession with Foster that when she entered Yale University, he quickly moved to New Haven, enrolling in a Yale writing class in order to slip poems and messages under her door. After failing to develop meaningful contact with Foster, he developed a scheme to impress her by assassinating the president. He initially trailed President Jimmy Carter from state to state before being arrested in Nashville on a firearms charge. He returned home, penniless.

Despite continued treatment for his depression, Hinckley’s mental health did not improve and he developed a new plan around newly-elected president Ronald Reagan. On March 30, 1981, Hinckley shot a .22 caliber revolver six times at Reagan as he departed the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.  While he did not hit the president directly, a bullet ricocheted off the limousine door and seriously wounded Regan in the chest. Hinckley’s shots also wounded a police office, a secret service agent, and press secretary James Brady, who was hit in the side of the head and paralyzed on the left side of his body.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982 and has been confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. since that time. His obsession with Foster continues today.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 18-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Mark Kitaoka of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Meet The Assassins: Sara Jane Moore

Meet the actor: Kendra Kassebaum

5th Avenue Theatre regular Kendra Kassebaum joins the cast as Sara Jane Moore. Previous 5th Ave and ACT credits include Jacques Brel…The Secret Garden, A Little Night MusicCompanyCinderella, ELF.   Her work on Broadway and in New York includes Wicked (Glinda), RENT (Maureen), Assassins (Ensemble/Squeaky Fromme us), Leap of Faith (Sam)MTC’s The Receptionist (Lorraine), and Roundabout Theatre’s A Little Night Music (Petra). Her local work includes critically acclaimed Seattle Rep’s Come From Away.  Kassebaum’s regional credits include the Actors Theater of Louisville, Sundance Writer’s Lab, San Jose Rep, Ordway Center, Florida Stage, St. Louis Muny and the Arizona Theatre Company. Her film and recording credits include The Other WomanLeap of Faith and the Grammy-nominated Assassins cast recording.

Meet the Assassin: Sara Jane Moore

Sara Jane Moore made history for trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford just 17 days after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s attempt in 1975. Moore was an accountant and involved in radical left wing politics.  Because of this connection to radical groups, she became an FBI informant.

The day before the assassination attempt, Moore had been picked up by police on an illegal handgun charge. She was released, but the police confiscated her weapon. The following morning she purchased a new handgun in haste and assumed a place among the crowd outside the St. Francis Hotel. She was about 40 feet away from the president when she fired and narrowly missed—the sites on her new .38 caliber revolver were six inches off! When she realized that she missed, she raised her arm to fire again and Oliver Sipple, a former Marine wrestled her to the ground after knocking the pistol out of her hand.

After her sentencing, Moore stated “Am I sorry I tried? Yes and no. Yes, because it accomplished little except the throw away the rest of my life. And, no, I’m not sorry I tried, because at the time it seemed a correct expression of my anger.” Moore was released on December 31, 2007 a the age of 77 after serving 32 years of her life sentence at the federal women’s prison in Dublin, California.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 18-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Tracy Martin of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Meet The Assassins: The Proprietor

Meet the Actor: Nick DeSantis

Nick DeSantis joins the cast as The Proprietor in his ACT debut  He has been seen onstage in Seattle at The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theatre and ArtsWest.  His favorite roles include Sunday in the Park… (Franz), ELF (Mr. Greenway), Les Misérables (Thenardier), No Way to Treat A Lady (Kit Gill), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Lumière) and I Am My Own Wife.

Meet the Assassins: The Proprietor

The Proprietor is one of the handful of non-historical figures in Assassins. A gun salesman who provides the characters with their weapons at the beginning of the show, the Proprietor plays on the ambitions, motivations and ramblings of the would-be assassins by acting as the pioneer  of all assassins, enticing them to enter a tawdry carnival. He invites them to play a game, promising that their problems will be solved by killing a president.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 17-April 7 for best availability.

Photo by Mark Kitaoka of MARK & TRACY PHOTOGRAPHY

Meet The Assassins: Lee Harvey Oswald

Meet the actor: Nathan Brockett

Nathan Brockett joins the cast as Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald is thrilled to make his ACT and 5th Ave debut with this show and team. He is a recent transplant to the Northwest from Austin, TX where he graduated with a BA in Theatre Performance and just completed a two-year Meisner acting program. Brockett’s Recent Seattle credits include The Rocky Horror Show at SMT, Zapoi! at Annex Theatre, and the Gregory Award-winning production of Into the Woods with STAGEright.

Meet the assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald

Born in 1939, Lee Harvey Oswald was a former US Marine sniper who, following a troubled military service, defected to the Soviet Union before returning to the United States with a Russian wife and baby daughter a few years later. They settled in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas where he struggled to maintain a job and at one point (just eleven days before the assassination), attempted to return to the Soviet Union via Cuba.

On November 22, 1963, according to five different government investigations, Oswald assassinated President Kennedy as he traveled by motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Oswald was charged with the assassination of President Kennedy on November 23 and was murdered the following day by Jack Ruby, a night club owner, while being transferred from the police station to the county jail. Due to Ruby’s actions, Oswald’s motive for assassinating the president was never made clear.

After the assassination Kennedy, presidents stopped riding in open cars, with efforts to make vehicles presidents are transported in more secure from different forms of attack. Some of the features now standard in presidential limos may include armor plating, bullet proof windows, and an interior that is sealed off from the outside world to reduce risks of a chemical attack.

Meet The Assassins: John Wilkes Booth


Meet the Actor: Louis Hobson

Louis Hobson is a regular on The 5th Avenue stage, with performances in Jacques Brel, Jasper in Deadland (cast album), A Room with a View, Spamalot, West Side Story, Miss Saigon, Hair, and Pippin. His Broadway credits and Cast Albums include Next to Normal (2010 Pulitzer Prize), Bonnie & Clyde, Leap of Faith, and The People in the Picture. Hobson can also be seen in films and on television including C.O.G. (Sundance 2013), Laggies (Sundance 2014), Lucky Them (TIFF 2014), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon), and opposite Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic (Sundance 2016).  Hobson is the president & co-founder of Indie Theatrical, with stage and entertainment properties currently in development in the U.S., Asia and South America.

Meet the Assassin: John Wilkes Booth

Arguably the most well-known presidential assassin in our nation’s history, John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor and Confederate sympathizer. Born in 1838 into a prominent theatrical family, Booth made his stage debut at the age of 17 and quickly developed a reputation as an outrageous scene stealer, strikingly handsome and intensely physical onstage.

As Civil War began to tear the country apart, Booth continued to perform extensively across the country. He was very vocal about his opposition to Abraham Lincoln and his support for slavery, and at one point was arrested in St. Louis  for “treasonous remarks” against the president and the government. In late 1864, he even developed a plot to kidnap President Lincoln and smuggle him into Richmond in an effort to bring victory to the South. A last minute change in plans on the part of the president foiled the plan.

On the morning of Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Booth learned that the President and First Lady would be attending a performance of the play Our American Cousin that very evening.  Fueled by this disdain for Lincoln, Booth would become the first person in the history of United States to assassinate a president, shooting the President in the back of the head.


Meet The Assassins: Giuseppe Zangara

About the Actor: John Coons

Coons joins the cast as Giuseppe Zangara. He is thrilled to be making his 5th Ave debut with this production of Assassins.  Hailed as “powerful, funny and audacious” by CityArts, Coons has sung roles with the Seattle Opera, Eugene Opera, Skagit Opera, Inverse Opera and the Boston Opera Collaborative. He has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Boston Symphony POPS, Atlanta Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Portland Symphony POPS and sung the national anthem for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. In addition to performing with popular artists Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer and Foreigner, his original one-man show, Six Months for Six Weeks, was released as a critically-acclaimed web series.

About the Assassin: Giuseppe Zangara

Born in Italy in 1900, Giuseppe Zangara migrated to the United States after serving in World War I. Due to both physical and mental health issues, he found difficulty working consistently and did odd jobs to stay afloat. In this troubled state, Zangara began to believe that the President of the United States was the one responsible for his pain and hardship. On February 15, 1933, Zangara attended a political event in Miami, Florida, where President Roosevelt and Chicago mayor Anton Cermak were present. He opened fire and five people were shot, including Cermack. The mayor lost his life but President Roosevelt was unharmed.

Under Florida law, a convicted murderer could not share cell space with another prisoner before his execution, but another convicted murderer was already awaiting execution at Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida. Therefore, Zangara’s sentence required prison officials to expand their waiting area, and the “death cell” became “Death Row.” On March 20, 1933, after spending only 10 days on Death Row, Zangara was executed in “Old Sparky,” the electric chair in Raiford. Zangara became enraged when he learned that no newsreel cameras would be filming his final moments. Zangara’s final statement was “Viva Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere! … Push the button! Go ahead, push the button!”

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 17-April 7 for best availability.

Check back next week for our next casting announcement!


Meet the Assassins: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

About the Actor: Laura Griffith

Laura Griffith was most recently seen at The 5th this season in Waterfall, and previously in  Carousel, Spamalot, A Room with a View, The Music Man, Candide, and more. She’s also worked at ACT before, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A native of Southern California, Griffith has performed in all three venues at the Los Angeles Music Center. Other regional work includes roles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Goodspeed Opera House, Sacramento Music Circus, Music Theatre of Wichita, Geva Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, La Mirada Theatre and Music Theatre West.

Griffith has performed on Broadway in several critically acclaimed productions, including South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza, and Oklahoma! You may also have seen her on Late Night with David Letterman, Live from Lincoln Center, or during one of her three Tony Award broadcast appearances. More information can be found at

About the Assassin: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was a bright child, but struggled with drinking and drugs in high school. After being kicked out by her father as a result of her addiction, things turned around for Fromme when she met Charles Manson on Venice Beach in 1967. The young hippie quickly became one of the most devoted members of the Manson Family. When “Charlie” was convicted in the Tate/La Bianca murders in 1969, Fromme moved to Sacramento be close to Folsom Prison where he was housed.

In September 1975, Fromme made history as the first woman to attempt to assassinate the president when she pointed her .45 semiautomatic pistol at Gerald Ford. She was quickly detained by Secret Service after her pistol did not fire.

Fromme was released on parole in August 2009 and moved to Marcy, New York.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 17-April 7 for best availability.

Check back next week for our next casting announcement!


Meet the Assassins: Samuel Byck

About the Actor: Matt Wolfe

Wolfe makes his ACT debut with this co-production of Assassins with The 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT- A Contemporary Theatre. He’s no stranger to The 5th Avenue stage, with credits in Pirates of Penzance, Saving Aimee, Aladdin, A Christmas Story The Musical, Catch Me If You Can and The Sound of Music. He’s done extensive work in Seattle at the Village Theatre (The Producers, Iron Curtain, Million Dollar Quartet, Tommy, The Music Man, and others), and Seattle Children’s Theatre (Goodnight Moon, The Wizard of Oz, Busytown and others). Wolfe is also known for his voice over work and performances in commercials, TV and film.

Wolfe made his Broadway debut with Scandalous, A Musical directed by 5th Avenue Theatre Artistic Director David Armstrong and toured nationally with Hello, Dolly!

Wolfe is the Artistic Director of Showtunes Theatre Company, which produces Broadway musicals in concert at Benaroya Hall. He was recently nominated for “Best Voiceover” for children’s audiobooks by the SOVAS Voice Arts Awards. More information can be found at

About the Assassin: Samuel Byck

Following an honorable discharge from the US Army in 1956, Samuel Byck struggled to keep a job and started several businesses that failed. His wife left him in 1972, taking their four children with her. Suffering from depression, he sought psychiatric help, expressing his belief that the government was corrupt, a slave to special interests and a conspirator in the oppression of the poor. Byck over time was arrested twice for protesting outside the White House without a permit, and later dressed in a Santa Claus suit for another protest.

He began plotting to kill President Nixon in order to “take back the government” for the people. He planned to hijack a plane and fly it into the White House and kept detailed audio recordings of his steps to do so, imagining that he would be honored as a hero. Byck’s plan was thwarted, though not before two innocent lives were lost: an airport security guard and the co-pilot to a Delta Airlines flight he had managed to board (though severely wounded, the pilot survived). The plane never left the tarmac.  Byck committed suicide in the cockpit before he could be captured and Nixon’s schedule was not affected by the assassination attempt. Before his death, Byck sent a tape detailing his plan—“Operation Pandora’s Box”— to a news columnist.

Come see Assassins, performed at ACT—A Contemporary Theatre. Visit our website, and search March 17-April 7 for best availability.

Check back next week for our next casting announcement!