Thursday, May 19, 2022
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“Still reeling from the trip I took to the dark side of the American dream tonight. Assassins at Stray Cat Theatre is a valley ‘must see.’ Brilliantly staged, on a brilliant set, with some of the best talent existing in the valley. Thank you, thank you to all the artists involved.” - JW

“WOW. Assassins at Stray Cat Theatre was absolutely exceptional. Seriously one of the best productions I have seen here in AZ. Incredible direction from Ron May and the most glorious orchestra and Sondheim music direction by Steve Hilderbrand. Over the top phenomenal. This was my first time seeing this show and it has quickly now become my favorite Sondheim piece next to Company. Now, let’s talk about that CAST???? Holy SHIT. Incredibly immersive and brilliant performances from Nicholas, Vinny, Damon, J Roger, Savoy, Anand, Elizabeth, Kathleen, Jasmyn and many, many more!! So exceptional. You have like, 4 more chances to see this show, and I highly encourage you to do so.” - BG

“Well it was everything you have heard and more!  Uncomfortable and beautiful, thought provoking and entertaining. Yes I thought the ending was so unsettling and spot on.   Catch this one while you can Phoenix.” - GC

"Go see this Sondheim piece of history. Phenomenal story telling and actors! Really enjoyed it!!" - LJ

"I admit. It’s not my favorite Sondheim score. However, THIS production is probably the best I’ve ever seen. Damon J. Bolling you’re phenomenal as always and the rest of the cast?
Just mind blowing. Thanks Ron May for changing my mind. Congratulations on a fab production!" - BJ

"Thought provoking, intriguing, fascinating and let’s face it….. it’s Sondheim! I also love watching good actors play crazy. I really enjoyed it. Congrats Ron May and cast! Steve Hillderbrand you’ve done it again!" - KJ

"Thank you for doing Sondheim and thank you for doing it with the appropriate brooding, darkness, poignancy, and uncomfortable space that it deserves to be in. The beauty in his shows is that the audience sees the stuff they usually try to ignore. It was a perfect way to end your season." - AG

"Assassins at Stray Cat was beautiful and dark. Thank you for a fine night at the theatre..." - JO

"So I saw "Assassins" on Saturday night and now I'm sitting in the faculty office today and I am STILL thinking about the production.  That production was so fucking fantastic, Ron!  The cast, the set, the use of the balloons, that HAUNTING ending...all of it!  I can easily say this is my favorite thing I've ever seen from Stray Cat and it got me SO EXCITED for next season.  BRAVO, cats and kittens.  That performance was EVERYTHING." - BC

“A great afternoon of live theatre…This is a very thought provoking piece. It’s full of very dark history of this country yet has humor that kind of catches you off guard, highly recommend.” - KC

"Great to be back at a Stray Cat Theatre performance! Congrats to the excellent cast and production team." - LH

"This was an incredibly good stage presentation of "Assassins".  Highly recommended." - MD

"I went to this play last Saturday and it was fabulous. If you like Sondheim you'll love this. The cast is incredibly talented  and the storyline is a lot of fun. Thank you Stray Cat for another super production!" - VM

“Great show, awesome talent. What a thought provoking show. Wow! Great job to you and the cast! Looking forward to seeing some more shows in the future.” - JG

"Amazing show last night! We love love love Stray Cat Theatre!" - AS

"Last night’s treasure… ASSASSINS, music and lyrics by Sondheim at  Tempe Center for the Arts, with this amazing company. Our expectations were beyond exceeded. Kudos to an outstanding cast and production!! Thank you all…We LOVED it!!" - MS

"The ending is a gut punch. I watched it once and that was all I could handle. COME SEE WHAT THE HYPE IS!" - JT 

"Stray Cat Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s ASSASSINS was surprisingly wonderful & uncomfortable in precisely the way I love theatre. I’d never seen (or heard) this show before and found myself aghast at applauding presidential assassins; while mesmerized by the craft & talent of all on the stage.  Vinny Chavez sings to stunning perfection; Nicholas Hambruch’s charisma is radiant, and the whole cast delivers a delightful (yet appalling) experience.  Ron May, what a perfect choice for Stray Cat’s first (Sondheim) musical in 20 years!  Can’t wait to see where you take your audience next!!!" - ML

"Assassins @ Stray Cat. Saw last night. Brilliant, talented cast, direction, set design, tech, staging and moments. I do not usually go to musicals - not a fan generally. But this production was an invite and renewed confirmation to become more open to exploration outside my comfort zone. Theatre was packed. Get your tickets." - DL

"I had the pleasure of seeing this show last night and it was such a thrilling ride. Another HIT from Stray Cat Theatre." - SR

"Great job Ron May and Stray Cat theatre! Cast and crew of Assassins were amazing! Damon J. Bolling is a vocal force!" - SJ

“Assassins” kills. The play, of course is Sondheim, so it is challenging. Funny. Gruesome. Melodic. You know, Sondheim. Stray Cat is my standard, the one that all others must live up to if they want to win my love and respect. And this stage was so full of talent I’m surprised it didn’t cave in. The voices, the acting, the attention to detail. So satisfying.
Seriously.  I never expected to become fond of killers, but several were so damned charming I just wanted to invite them over for supper. Thank you, Stray Cat. You make me happy" - PL

"It was fabulous!!" - TA

"Great cast, great production!" - SH

"…it’s great. A little different but great! I really enjoyed it." - BT

"Wonderful production!!! Just returned from an amazing production at Stray Cat Theatre. Ron May directed with his usual skill. He moved the large cast around the stage beautifully. He truly is a director extraordinaire. The actors/singers were superb, and the musicians did Sondheim proud. It's not too late for tickets!" - BO

"Thank you.  My first theatre experience in Arizona after relocating from Oregon via NYC.
Mesmerizing production of a hard-to-digest brilliant play.  
Thank you so much.  Talent abounds: committed actors, musicians, tech stalwarts all.  Congratulations!
PS.  The ending, in light of the gun violence drowning us in Buffalo, NY…many tears shed.  Oh…America…" - PH

"Stray Cat's "Assassins" Amazing job by amazing people. Go see this show!!!!" - PR

"Went to see the spectacular Assassins at Stray Cat today. WOWZA. That's my review. Truly wondrous production." - DS

"We had a guy chewing ice and shaking the cup of ice Friday during Assassins. And it was still full of incredible performances and an amazing experience…" - KR

"Saw this last night and it was fantastic!" - RS

"Great show! Loved the ending! Bravo Mr May!" - GH

"When you can gather a group of people to tell a story and you get to see people put every ounce of themselves in it. That’s why I go to see theatre. That’s why I was entranced by ASSASSINS at Stray Cat Theatre. The story clips along and you are in the oddest carnival/fair of your life. I laughed. I cheered. I was in awe. 
So get your ass to ASSASSINS!...Don't miss this!" - MT

"Great ensemble, set, direction...!" - KM

"Hey Ron, I just saw assassins and I was blown away!! You did a stunning job with this material and the cast and band were amazing! Congrats!" - MS

"TL; DR  Stray Cat’s ASSASSINS is really good and you should come see it.
I always feel like it’s a cliché to start with something like, “what I love most about theater is…” but ugh.  Who wants to hear that?  The problem is that I honestly don’t know how to start this except to say this: ASSASSINS gave me a moments in the show where I had that, “THIS is why I love theater” feeling.  And I got to sit in a room with over a hundred people who experienced it too, though I’m sure not exactly the same and that’s why I love theater.  I have two very visceral moments during the show – one is a panic response, the other a “god that’s good” response.  First, Ron staged a moment between three actors where nothing is being said – but the entire tenor of the moment changed from light to dark and I watched an actor convey absolute fear with his back to the audience while the person causing that fear had a face that went from light to dark in a second.  I knew in my head that nothing was going to happen – but my body felt otherwise and somewhat panicked.  When utter silence can elicit that response?  It kind of makes my head explode.  
The other moment was at a point where the whole cast was singing and I heard (and felt) this complete wave of harmony, so in tune, so perfectly together that I felt it to my soul.  There is something about the Steve effect (both Sondheim AND Hilderbrand) that elicits that joyful noise.  Music sounding so good it leaves me in tears?  It makes my heart happy.  
I also find it so amazing that a show written over 30 years ago can feel so current.  It’s one I plan on watching a lot more times because you know how it is:  when it’s gone, it’s gone.  I do hope you will join us.  We roll back in on Thursday at 7:30 and go for this weekend and next.  If you miss this, I promise you will be saying, “Ugh, I wish I had seen that.” - BU

"I just loved the whole show!" - JM

"I was so blown away by...the cast. Way to do my favorite musical justice. The whole show was amazing! The ending was stunning. The best way I could have spent my Mother's Day! Thank you all!" - CR

"Holy crap!!!...the cast were amazing! The set design was awesome (Douglas Clarke), the orchestra was great, and stage management was superb!" - SD

"The bad boy of valley theatre is back with ASSASSINS!  Ron May serves up a punch in the sensitivity gut, slap in the moral compass (hold on…did I just applaud when Lee Harvey Oswald sang a solo?), and a rearrangement of current socio-political polarizations.  And if you’ve seen this Sondheim musical before….just wait…Ron surrounds himself with so much talent: Damon J. Bolling , Vinny Chavez...Brandon Caraco, Amanda Keegan, Michael Peck, Douglas Clarke, Maci Cae Hosler, Peter Bish..." - DB

"Saw it yesterday. Great! That ending is riveting." - TH

"If you can go see it … the show is amazing." - CG

"Absolutely Loved the show last night and will be coming to see it most definitely several times before it closes." - HK

"it’s definitely worth seeing. A very strong cast. Joe Morris and Vinny Chavez are great!" - JH

"What a moving poignant musical lead by the spectacular voices of Damon J. Bolling and Vinny Chavez. This is one of the shows of the current season that i would encourage seeing over and over again" - JDL

"It was an awesome show!  Brilliant ensemble cast! educational, funny, thought provoking, sad, and chilling. And of course it’s Sondheim!!" - BM

"You should all go see Assassins at Stray Cat Theater. That is all!" - DN

"It was so good!" - TM

"Yes, the ending was very powerful. Liked what they did a lot." - PA

"Go - before it’s sold out - because it will be!! Fantastic!" - CS

"Congrats to the cast, crew, and musicians of Assassins at Stray Cat Theatre! Get your tickets, people! Too many good things to mention!" - TPB

"So - if you’ve ever been part of a group of people witnessing a momentously awful event - something life-as-we-know-it-changing - you know that a kind of collective low moan goes through the room and makes everyone sway on their foundations a little as they realize what they’re seeing. 
Until the final moment of Assassins last night, I had never heard that sound from a musical theater audience.
Ron May has done something incredibly important." - KA

"I was lucky enough to attend this show last night. If an opportunity for me to go again arises, I will happily go. Because really; what is more American than a Sondheim musical? The State or County fair? Games of chance and skill? The ability to speak your mind about social political issues that effect the very foundation of the idea USA? Hamburgers, French fries, fried chicken, and your favorite beverage? 
Step right up folx, take a big apple pie slice of, the Sondheim musical about the American dream. I will never see stickers of Old Glory in the same light." - DC

"Totally engrossing performance last night. Thanks for bringing ASSASSINS to the Valley, and for putting together such a great cast. Putting on a musical is incredibly hard work, and it was glorious to see and hear. Thanks for making my 21 years here in the desert something other than parched and dry. And for your total commitment to challenging theatre in this forbidding environment." - JM

"Play review: ASSASSINS at Stray Cat Theatre 
Have you ever wanted something too much and felt like you might go to extremes to get it? We've all had thoughts of what we might do under the wrong circumstances, when we're feeling desperate enough. 
ASSASSINS offers up a shooter's gallery of infamous figures from history: men and women who have attempted to kill a president or succeeded in doing so.  Under Ron May's deft direction, we are given a perspective of why these people did what they felt they had to do.  
How does idealism become fanaticism? When does justified anger boil over into violence? What changes love into obsession? Why does this keep happening?
While no concrete answers to these questions are offered, they are asked in a compelling way. Combining intense acting, masterful vocals, pitch-black comedy, and searing tragedy, ASSASSINS is a series of captivating and cautionary tales that bears witnessing, despite how disturbing that might be.  
Stray Cat has another hit on its hands, so do yourself a favor and get your tickets." - ET

"'s fabulous!" - JF

"I saw Assassins Stray Cat Theatre last night and am blown away.  What a stage full of absolute talent.  You are hooked from beginning to shocking much so that I needed to pee half way through, but I didn't dare leave my seat even though I knew what was going to happen.  This production is beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, shocking, and dark... Just the way I like my musicals ... And that ending, I'll be thinking about it for days...Go support this production you won't be disappointed...!!" - CC

"Safe to say “soft” opening pulled no punches...looking fwd to seeing the work a couple more times. Thank you, @straycattheatre" - BJF

"Got to see the opening of Assassins by Stephen Sondheim in Tempe. Definitely check this out if you are looking for more theatre in the Valley! It was fun and entertaining and you can tell the cast and crew is putting their heart into it. This play is produced by Stray Cat Theatre and they’re without a doubt, listening. Thank you for listening, for producing work that moves with the times and the people. Can’t wait for more shows!" - BB