Assassins (musical)

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Assassins (1990–1991), musical, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Everybody's Got the Right[edit]

  • (Proprietor) Hey, pal- feelin' blue? Don't know what to do? Hey, pal- I mean you- yeah. C'mere and kill a president. No job? Cupboard bare? one room, no one there? Hey, pal, don't despair- You wanna shoot a president? c'mon and shoot a president... Some guys Think they can be winners. First prize often goes to rank beginners.
  • (Proprietor) Hey, kid, failed your test? Dream girl unimpressed? Show her you're the best. If you can shoot a president. You can get the prize With the big blue eyes, Skinny little thighs And those big blue eyes...
  • (Proprietor) Everybody's Got the right To be happy. Don't stay mad, Life's not as bad As it seems. If you keep your Goal in sight, You can climb to Any height. Everybody's Got the right To their dreams...
  • (Proprietor) Hey, fella, Feel like you're a failure? Bailiff on your tail? Your Wife run off for good? Hey, fella, fell misunderstood? C'mere and kill a president...
  • (Proprietor) What's-a wrong, boy? Boss-a treat you crummy? Trouble with your tummy? This-a bring you some relief. Here, give some hail-a to da chief-
  • (Proprietor) Everybody's Got the right To be different Even though At times they go To extremes. Aim for what you want a lot- Everybody Gets a shot. Everybody's Got a right To their dreams- Yo, baby! Looking for a thrill? The Ferris Wheel is that way. No, baby, This requires skill- Okay, you want to give it a try... Jeez, lady-! Give the guy some room! The bumper cars are that way.. Please, lady- Don't forget that guns can go boom...
  • (Booth) Everybody's Got the right To be happy. Say, "Enough!" It's not as tough As it seems. Don't be scared You won't prevail, Everybody's Free to fail, No one can be put in jail For their dreams.
  • (Booth) Be a schoolar! (Proprietor) Make a dollar! (Together) Free Country! (Booth) Means they listen to you! (Proprietor) Scream and holler, (Booth) Grab em by the collar! Means you don't have to sit! (Proprietor) That's it! (Booth) Or put up with that shit!
  • (Assassins) Not the sun, but maybe one of it's beams, (Echoing) One of it's beams.
  • (All) Rich man, poor man Black or white, pick your apple, Take a bite, Everybody Just hold tight To your dreams. Everybody's Got the right To their dreams...

Ballad of Booth[edit]

  • (Balladeer) Someone tell the story, Someone sing the song. Every now and then The country Goes a little wrong. Every now and then A madman's Bound to come along. Doesn't stop the story- Story's pretty strong. Doesn't change the song...
  • (Balladeer) Johnny Booth was a handsome devil, Got up in his rings and fancy silks. Had him a temper but kept it level. Everybody called him Wilkes. Why did you do it, Johnny? Nobody agrees. You who had everything, What made you bring A nation to its knees? Some say it was your voice had gone, Some say it was booze. Some say you killed a coutry, John, Because of bad reviews.
  • (Balladeer) Johnny lived with a grace and glitter. Kind of like the lives he lived on stage. Died in a barn in pain and bitter Twenty-seven years of age. Why did you do it, Johnny, Throw it all away? Why did you do it, boy, Not just destroy The pride and joy Of Illinois, But all the U.S.A.? Your brother made you jealous, John, You couldn't fill his shoes. Was that the reason, tell us, John- Along with bad reviews.
  • (Booth spoken) An indictment. Of the former President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who is herein charged with the following high crimes and misdemeanors. (Balladeer) They say you ship was sinking john (Booth spoken) One: That you did ruthlessly provoke a war between the States, which cost some six hundred thousand of my countrymen their lives. Two: (Balladeer) You started missing cues. (Booth spoken) Two: You did silence you critics in the north by hurling them into prision without Benifit of charge or trial.
  • (Balladeer) They say it wasn't Lincoln, John, (Booth spoken) Shut up. Three: (Balladeer) You merely had a slew of bad review! (Booth spoken) I said shut up!
  • (Balladeer) He said damn you Lincoln! You had your way! (Booth) Tell'em boy! (Balladeer) With blood you drew out of blue and gray! (Booth) Tell'em all! Tell'em till they listen! (Balladeer) He said, damn you Lincoln and damn the day, you threw the U out of U.S.A!
  • (Balladeer) He said, (Booth) Hunt me down, smear my name. Say I did it for the fame, what I did was kill the man who killed my country! Now the Southland can end! Now this bloody war can end! Because someone slew the tyrant, just as Brutus slew the tyrant!
  • (Balladeer) He said (Together) Damn you Lincoln! You rightous whore! (Booth) Tell'em, tell'em what he did! (Balladeer) You turned your spite into civil war! (Booth) Tell'em, tell'em the truth! (Balladeer) And more!
  • (Booth) Tell'em boy! Tell'em how it happened! How the end doesn't mean that it's over! How surrender is not the end! Tell them: How the country is not what it was, Where there's blood in the clover, How the nation can never again be the hope that it was! How the bruises may never be healed, how the wounds are forever, How the How we gave up the field But we still wouldn't yield. How the union will never recover, from that vulger! High and Mighty! Niggerlover! Never! never... never...
  • (Booth) Damn my soul if you must, Let my body turn to dust, Let it mingle with the ashes of the country. Let them curse me to hell, Leave it to history to tell: What I did, I did well, And I did it for my country. Let them cry, "dirty traitor!" They will understand it later- The country is not what it was
  • (Balladeer) Johnny Booth was a headstrong fellow, Even he believed the things he said. Some called him noble, some said yellow. What he was was off his head. How could you do it,Johnny, Calling it a cause? You left a legacy Of butchery And treason we Took eagerly, And thought you'd get applause. But traitors just get jeers and boos, Not visits to their graves,While Lincoln, who got mixed reviews, Because of you, John, now gets only raves. Damn, you Johnny, You paved the way For other madmen To make us pay. Lots of madmen Have had their say- But only for a day.
  • (Baalladeer) Listen to the stories. Hear it in the songs. Angry men Don't write the rules And guns don't write the wrongs. Hurts a while, But soon the country's Back where it belongs, And that's the truth. Still and all, Damn you Booth

How I Saved Roosevelt[edit]

  • (Bystander #3) Then- He started to swear And he climbed on a chair, He was aiming a gun-I was standing right there- So I pushed it as hard as I could in the air, Which is how I saved Roosevelt!
  • (Zangara) No scare. You think that I care? No care. I look at the world- No good. No fair. Nowhere. When I am boy, No school. I work in a ditch, No chance. The smart and the rich Ride by, Don't give no glance. Ever since then, because of them, I have the sickness in the stomach, Which is the way I make my idea To go out and kill Roosevelt.
  • (Zangara) First I was figure I kill Hoover, I get even for the Stomach. Only Hoover up in Washington. Is wintertime in washington, Too cold for the stomach in Washington- I go down to Miami Kill Roosevelt.
  • (Zangara) No laugh! No funny! Men with the money, they control everything. Roosevelt, Hoover- No make no difference. You think I care who I kill? I no care who I kill, Long as it's King!
  • (Zangara) You think I am left? No left, no right, No anything! Only American! Zangara have nothing, No luck, no girl, Zangara no smart, no school, But Zangara no foreign tool, American! American nothing!
  • (Zangara) And why there no photographers? For Zangara no photographers! Only capitalists get photographers!
  • (Bystanders) Right! Lucky (Zangara) No fair (Bystander) I was there! (Zangara) where! So what? (Bystander) I'm on the front page- Is that bizarre? (Zangara) No sorry! (Bystander) And all of those pictures, Like a star! (Zangara) And soon no (Bystander) Just lucky I was there!(Zangara) Zangara! (Bystander) We might have been left (Zangara) Who care? (Bystander) Bereft of F. (Zangara) Pull switch! No care, (Bystander) D. (Zangara) No more, No- (Bystanders) R.

Gun Song[edit]

  • (Czolgosz) It takes a lot of men to make a gun, Hundreds, Many men to make a gun: Men in the mines To dig the uron, Men in the mills To forge the steel, Men at machines To turn the barrel, Mold the trigger, Shape the wheel- It takes a lot of men to make a gun... One gun
  • (Booth) And all you have to do Is move you little finger, Move your little finger and- You can change the world. Why should you be blue When You've you little finger? Prove how just a little finger Can change the world (Czolgosz) I hate this gun!
  • (Guiteu) What a wonder is a gun! What a versatile invention! First of all, when you've a gun- Everybody pays attention. When you think what must be done, Think of all that it can do: Remove a scoundrel, Unite a party, Preserve the Union, Promote the sales of my book, Insure my future, My niche in history, And then the world will see That I am not a man to overlook! Ha-ha
  • (Czolgosz Guiteu and Booth) And all you have to do Is squeeze your little finger. Ease your little finger back- You can change the world. Whatever else is true, You trust your little finger. Just a single little finger Can change the world
  • (Moore) I got this really great gun- shit, where is it? No, it's really great-Wait- shit, where is it? Anyway It's just a .38- But- It's a gun. You can make a statement- Wrong- With a gun- Even if you fail. It telss 'em who you are Where you stand. This one was on sale. It- no not the shoe- Well, actually the shoe was, too. No, that's not it- shit, I had it here- Got i
  • (Czolgosz) A gun kills many men before it's done, Hundreds, Long before you shoot the gun: Men in the mines And in the steel mills, Men at machines, Who died for what? Something to buy- A watch, a shoe, a gun, A thing to make the bosses richer, But A gun claims many men before it's done... Just One More

Ballad of Czolgosz[edit]

  • (Balladeer) Czolgosz, Working man, Born in the middle of Michigan, Woke with a thought And away he ran To the Pan-American Exposition In Buffalo, In Buffalo. Saw of a sudden How things were run, Said, "Time's a-wasting It's nineteen-one. Some men have everything And some have none, So rise and shine- In the U.S.A. You can work your way To the head of the line!"
  • (Balladeer) Czolgosz, Quiet man, Worked out a quiet And simple plan, Strolled of a morning All spick and span, To the Temple Of Music By the Tower Of Light At the Pan-American Exposition In Buffalo, In Buffalo. Saw Bill McKinley there In the sun. Heard Bill McKinley say, "Folks, have fun! Some men have everything And some have none, But that's just fine: in the U.S.A. You can work your way To the head of the line
  • (Balladeer) Czolgosz, Angry man, Said, "I will do what A poor man can. Yes, and there's nowhere More fitting than In the Temple Of Music By the Tower Of Light Between the Fountain Of Abundance And the Court of Lilies At the great Pan-American Exposition In Buffalo, In Buffalo. Wrapped him a handkerchief "round his gun, Said, "Nothin' wrong about What I done. Some men have everything And some have none- That's by design. The idea wasn't mine alone, But mine, And that's the sign: In the U.S.A. You can have your say, You can set you goals And seize the day, You've been given the freedom To work your way To the head of the line- To the head of the line!"

Unworthy of Your Love[edit]

  • (Hinckley) I am nothing, You are wind and water and sky, Jodie. Tell me, Jodie, How I can earn you love. I would swim oceans, I would move mountains, I would do anything for you. What do you want me to do? I am unworthy of your love, Jodie, Jodie, Let me prove worthy of you love. Tell me how I can earn your love, Set me free. How can I turn your love To me?
  • (Fromme) I am nothing, You are wind and devil and God, Charlie, Take my blood and my body For your love. Let me feel fire, Let me drink poison, Tell me to tear my heart in two, If that's what you want me to do... I am unworthy of you love, Charlie darlin', I have done nothing for your love. Let me be worthy of your love, Set me free-
  • (Hinckley) I would come take you from you life... (Fromme) I would some take you from your cell... (Hinckley) You would be queen to me, not wife...(Fromme) I would crawl belly deep through hell... (Hinckley) Baby, I'd die for you... (Fromme) Baby, I'd die for you... (Hinckley) Even though- (Fromme) Even though-
  • (Hinckley) I will always know: (Fromme) I will always know: (Hinckley) I am unworthy of (Fromme) I am unworthy of (Hinckley) Your love, (Fromme) Your love, (Hinckley) Jodie darlin', [FROMME] Charlie darlin', (Both) Let me worthy of your love. I'll find a way to earn your love, Wait and see. Then you will turn your love to me, Your love to me...

Ballad of Guiteau[edit]

  • (Guiteau) I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad. I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad. I am going to the Lordy, Glory Hallelujah! Glory Hallelujah! I am going to the Lordy
  • (Balladeer) Come all ye Christians, And hear from sinner: Charlie Guiteau. Bound and determined He'd wind up a winner, Charlie had dreams That he wouldn't let go. Said, "Nothing to it, I want it, I'll do it, I'm Charles J. Guiteau." Charlie Guiteau Never said "Never" Or heard the word "No." Faced with disaster, His heart would beat faster, His smile would just grow, And he'd say
  • (Guiteau) Look on the bright side, Look on the bright side, Sit on the right side Of the lord. This is the land of Opportunity, He is your lightning, You his sword. Wait till you see tomorrow, Tomorrow you'll get you reward! You can be sad Or you can be President- Look on the bright side... I am going to the Lordy...
  • (Balladeer) Charlie Guiteau Drew a crowd to his trial, Led them in prayer, Said, "I killed Garfield, I'll make no denial. I was just acting for someone up there. The Lord's my employer, And now He's my lawyer, So do what you dare." Charlie said, "Hell, If I am guilty, Then God is as well." But God was aquitted And Charlie committed Until he should hang. Still, he sang:
  • (Guiteau) Look on the bright side, Not on the black side. Get off your backside, Shine those shoes! This is you golden Opportunity: You are the lightning And you're news! Wait till you see tomorrow, Tomorrow you won't be ignored! You could be pardoned, You could be President- Look on the bright side... I am going to the Lordy...
  • (Balladeer) Charlie Guiteau Had a crowd at the scaffold- (Guiteau) I am so glad... (Balladeer)) -Filled up the square, Some many people That tickets were raffled. Shine on his shoes Charlie mounted the stair, Said, "Never sorrow, Just wait till tomorrow, Today isn't fair. Don't despair..."
  • (Guiteau) Look on the bright side, Look on the bright side, Sit on the right side... Of the... I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad! I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad! I have unified my party, I have saved my country. I shall be remembered! I am going to the Lordy...
  • (Balladeer) Look on the bright side, Not on the sad side, Inside the bad side Something's good! This is you golden Opportunity: You've been a preacher- (Guiteau) Yes, I have! (Balladeer) You've been an author- (Guiteau) Yes, I have! (Balladeer) You've been a killer- (Guiteau) Yes, I have! (Balladeer) You could be an angel_ (Guiteau) Yes, I could! (Balladeer) Just wait until tomorrow, (Guiteau) Tomorrow they'll all climb aboard! (Balladeer) What if you never Got to be President? You'll be remembered- (Guiteau)Look on the bright side- (Balladeer) Trust in tomorrow- (Both) And the Lord!

Another National Anthem[edit]

  • (CzoIgosz everyone speaking) I did it because it was wrong for one man to have so much service when other men have none... (Booth) I did it to bring down the government of Abraham Lincoln and to avenge the ravaged South... (Hinckley) I did it to prove to her my everlasting love... (Fromme) I did it to make them listen to Charlie... (Zangara) I did it 'cause my belly was on fire... (Guiteau) I did it to preserve the Union and promote the sale of my book... (Moore) I did it so my friends would know where I was coming from...
  • (Byck sung) Where's my prize? (Czolgosz spoken) I did it because no one cared about the poor man's pain... (Moore spoken)I did it so I'd know where I was coming from... (Byck) I want my prize... (Zangara spoken)I did it 'cause the bosses made my belly burn... (Hinckley spoken)I did it so she'd pay attention... (Moore spoken) So I'd have someplace to come from, and someplace to go... (Byck) Don't I get a prize? (Guiteau spoken) I did it 'cause they said I'd be Ambassador to France... (Booth) I did it so they'd suffer in the North the way we'd suffered in the South...
  • (Byck) I deserve a fucking prize!... (Fromme spoken) I did it so there'd be a trial, and Charlie would get to be a witness, and he'd be on TV, and he'd save the world!... (Guiteau) Where's my prize? (Byck spoken) I did it to make people listen. (Czolgosz and Fromme) They promised me a prize... (Hinckley yelling) Because she wouldn't take my phone calls- (All assassins (Except Zangara))What about my prize? (Zangara yelling) Because nothing stopped the fire-! (All Assassins (Except Byck)) I want my prize!... (Byck yelling) Nobody would listen!
  • (Balladeer) And it didn't mean a nickel, You just shed a little blood, And a lot of people shed a lot of tears. Yes, you made a little moment And you stirred a little mud- But it didn't fix the stomach And you've drunk you're final bud, And it didn't help the workers And it didn't heal the country And it didn't make them listen And they never said, "We're Sorry"-
  • (Byck) Yeah, it's never gonna happen, Is it? No, sir- (Czolgosz) Never. (Byck) No, we're never gonna get the prize- (Fromme) No one listens... (Byck) -Are we? (Zangara) Never (Byck) No, it doesn't make a bit of difference, Does it? (Assassins) Didn't. Ever. (Byck) Fuck it! (Assassins) Spread the word... Where's my prize?...
  • (Balladeer) I just heard On the news Where the mailman won the lottery. Goes to show: When you lose, what you do is try again. You can be What you choose, From a mailman to a president. There are prizes all around you, If you're wise enough to see: The delivery boy's on Wall Street, And the the usherette's a rock star-
  • (Byck)Right, it's never gonna happen, is it? Is it! (Hinckley and Fromme) No, man! (Byck and Czolgosz) No, we'll never see the day arrive- (Assassins) Spread the word... Will we? No, sir-Never! No one's ever even gonna care if we're alive, Are they?... Never... Spread the word... We're alive... Someone's gonna listen... Listen!
  • (Byck) Listen... There's another national anthem playing, Not the one you cheer At the ballpark. (Moore) Where's my prize?... (Byck)It's the other national anthem, saying, If you want to hear- It says, "Bullshit!"... (Czolgosz) It says, "Never!"- (Guiteau) It says, "Sorry!"- (Assassin) Loud and clear-
  • (Assassins) It says: Listen To the tune that keeps sounding In the distance, on the outside, Coming through the ground, To the hearts that go on pounding To the sound Getting louder every year- Listen to the sound... Take a look around... We're the other national anthem, folks, The ones that can't get in. To the ballpark. Spread the word... There's another national anthem, folks, For those who never win, For the suckers, for the pikers, For the ones who might have been...
  • (Balladeer) There are those who love regretting, There are those who like extremes, There are those who thrive on chaos And despair. There are those who keep forgetting How the country's built on dreams- (Assassins) People listen... (Balladeer) -And the mailman won the lottery- (Assassins) They might not want to hear it, But they listen, Once they thinks it's gonna stop the game... (Balladeer) -And the usherette's a rock star. (Assassins) No, they may not understand All the words, All the same They hear the music... They hear the screams... (Balladeer) I've got news- (Assassins) They hear the sobs, They hear the drums... (Balladeer) -You forgot about the country- (Assassins) The muffled drums, The muffled dreams... (Balladeer) -So it's now forgotten you- (Assassins) And they rise...
  • (Byck spoken) You know why I did it? Because there isn't any Santa Claus! (Assassins) Where's my prize? (Balladeer) And you forgot- (Assassins) What's my prize? (Balladeer) -How quick it heals- (Assassins) Promises and lies... (Balladeer) -That it's a place Where you can make the lies come true- (Assassins) Spread the word... (Balladeer) -If you try- (Assassins) Gotta spread the word... (Balladeer) -That's all you have to do- (Assassins) Right, All you have to do...
  • (Assassins) Well, there's another national anthem, And I think it just began In the ballpark. Listen hard... Like the other national anthem Say to each and every fan: If you can't do what you want to, Then you do the things you can. You've got to try again! Like they say, You've go to keep on trying Every day Until you get a prize... Until you get a prize... Until you're heard... Mustn't get discouraged... Spread the word... Mustn't give up hope... Up to you- Don't say--What you choose... -It's never gonna happen... Spread the word... (All) You can always get a prize...
  • (Booth) You can always get your dream...
  • (Byck) Sure, the mailman won the lottery...

Quotes[edit]

  • "Everybody's got the right to be happy, don't stay mad, life's not as bad as it seems! If you keep your goal in sight, you can climb to any height, anybody's got the right to their dreams.." - "Everybody's Got the Right"


  • "Everybody's got the right to some sunshine! Not the sun, but maybe one of it's beams!" - "Everybody's Got the Right"
  • "Everybody's got the right to their dreams!" - "Everybody's Got the Right"
  • "What a wonder is a gun! What a versatile invention! First of all, when you've a gun-Everybody pays attention. When you think what must be done, Think of all that it can do: Remove a scoundrel, Unite a party, preserve the Union, Promote the sales of my book, Ensure my future, My niche in history, And then the world will see That I am not a man to overlook!" - Guiteau, "The Gun Song"
  • "A gun claims many men before it's done." - Czolgosz, "The Gun Song"
  • "You know [Brutus'] name. Brutus assassinated Caesar what, 2000 years ago, and here's a high school dropout with a dollar-twenty-five an hour job from Dallas, Texas who knows who he was. And they say fame, is fleeting." - John Wilkes Booth, "November 22, 1963"
  • "Angry men don't write the rules, and guns don't right the wrongs." - "The Ballad of Booth"
  • "Hunt me Down, Smear my name, Say I did it for the fame what I did was kill the man who killed my country"-John Wilkes Booth, "The Ballad of Booth"
  • "Let them curse me to hell,

Leave it to history to tell: What I did, I did well, And I did it for my country.

Let them cry, "dirty traitor!" They will understand it later- The country is not what it was..." -John Wilkes Booth, "The Ballad of Booth"

  • "Look on the bright side, look on the bright side, sit on the right side of the lord--this is the land of opportunity; he is your lightning, you his sword!"-Guiteau, The Ballad of Guiteau
  • Byck: Have it your way, have it your way! You know what my way is? Hot. How's about a hamburger that's fuckin' hot!? [throws his burger out the window; a car honks] Hey don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts!
  • John Wilkes Booth: Sic Semper Tyrannis! [Echoes throughout the theater].
  • Emma Goldman: What does a man do when before his eyes, he sees the vision of a new hope dawning on his toiling, agonizing brothers? What does a man do, when at last he is realizes that his suffering is caused not by cruelty of fate, but by the injustice of his fellow human being? What does a man do when he sees those dear to him starving, when he himself is starved? What does he do? What does he do? What--[sound of whistles, shouts, curses, chairs being turned over.]

External links[edit]

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