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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Arguing that all art is political, Joanne Gordon takes a personal approach to her analysis of Assassins. As a former South African who grew up under the tyranny of the apartheid era, Gordon shares her ideas and experience of directing the musical Assassins in the Long Beach Armory under the watchful eye of the men and women of the National Guard, who were on active duty during the invasion of Iraq. The musical proved to be an ideal choice in its dramatization of the themes of power and political mayhem through the form and style of the American musical. Tracing the controversy and insights that surrounded the production, Gordon reveals that the political connotations of Sondheim’s words and music served as a powerful catalyst to stir the conscience of her predominantly young student audience.

Keywords: political art, South African context, Assassins, art and activism, US presidents, Iraq invasion

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