Parkland shooting survivor to appear in ‘Assassins’ musical
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 BocaBlackBox.com.
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.