Park­land shoot­ing sur­vivor to ap­pear in ‘As­sas­sins’ mu­si­cal

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Rod Stafford Hag­wood rhag­

Park­land shoot­ing sur­vivor Cameron Kasky, an out­spo­ken anti-gun ac­tivist, will make a spe­cial ap­pear­ance in a mu­si­cal about peo­ple through­out his­tory who have tried to as­sas­si­nate U.S. pres­i­dents.

Kasky — who was one of the founders of the Never Again MSD ad­vo­cacy group and the March for Our Lives rally after the Valen­tine’s Day mass shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Douglas High School — will por­tray Lee Har­vey Oswald in one mati­nee per­for­mance of the mu­si­cal “As­sas­sins” at the Boca Black Box Cen­ter for the Arts. Chris­tine Bar­clay, owner and artis­tic di­rec­tor of Bar­clay Per­form­ing Arts, which is pro­duc­ing the show for Boca Black Box, asked Kasky if he could fill in for an­other ac­tor dur­ing the mati­nee on Sun­day. The Vet­er­ans Day per­for­mance will also be Kasky’s 18th birth­day.

“Chris­tine told me they needed some­one to fill in for Oswald,” Kasky wrote in an email in­ter­view when asked why he chose to cel­e­brate his birth­day with this per­for­mance. “And I knew I would be in town, so it seemed like a no-brainer. I’ll have plenty of time to buy prop­erty and cig­a­rettes later.”

Why do this show now?

The Stephen Sondheim mu­si­cal opened off-Broad­way in 1990 to mixed re­views, but the 2004 re­vival on Broad­way went on to win five Tony Awards. The show is pre­sented in a re­vue style, which al­lows the gun­men (and women) from dif­fer­ent eras to in­ter­act on­stage. The

If you go

The Boca Black Box is at 8221 Glades Road No. 10, in West Boca Ra­ton. Showtimes are 2 p.m. to­day and 7 p.m. Mon­day. Tick­ets are $25 and $35 (there are $15 stu­dent rush ticket avail­able at the door). To or­der, call 561-483-9036 or go to Bo­ca­Black­

ros­ter of as­sas­sins in­cludes the likes of John Wilkes Booth, John Hinck­ley, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Sa­muel Byck and Oswald.

“We as a so­ci­ety, we sort of glam­or­ize the crim­i­nal and they be­come celebri­ties,” says Bar­clay. “Ev­ery­one knows the names of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Har­vey

Oswald, Niko­las Cruz. I had this mo­ment when I re­al­ized I am tak­ing a big, huge, scary step by do­ing this show right now. But I also thought it was a ge­nius move. It’s ex­actly what is go­ing on now, from guns to men­tal health to celebrity cul­ture in our coun­try. It lit­er­ally has it all.”

Bar­clay and Kasky pre­vi­ously worked to­gether in May for a stag­ing of “Spring Awak­en­ing” a lit­tle over two months after the trauma of the Park­land shoot­ing.

That show — with its themes of teenage sex­u­al­ity, rape, sui­cide, abor­tion and phys­i­cal abuse — had six per­form­ers who at­tended Stone­man Douglas and made head­lines. Like that show, this pro­duc­tion of “As­sas­sins” also has a cast that in­cludes stu­dents from Stone­man Douglas, in­clud­ing Rachel Starikov and Ethan Kauf­man.

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