Top 10: Broadway's Best Cast Albums Ever
BY Winston Gieseke
January 24 2012 5:00 AM ET
2. Assassins (Original Cast Recording) (1991)
Who ever thought a story of people who murdered American presidents — or attempted to — would make a good musical? The warped but genius Stephen Sondheim, that’s who. And the result is a complex and often hilarious look at society’s fascination with evil, deftly told through the musical styles of the eras in which the various crimes take place. John Hinkley, Jr. sings a duet with Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme called “Unworthy of Your Love” in which he’s pining for Jodie Foster and she for Charles Manson. Yes, it’s wrong on many levels, but I challenge you to find a more effective study of demented minds told via love ballad. Sondheim’s true brilliance comes out in “How I Saved Roosevelt,” a song sung by bystanders to the assassination attempt of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Miami, each of whom tries to take credit for saving the president-elect’s life. “Lucky I was there / Or we’d have been left / Bereft of F.D.R” is just one of the many clever lines in this heady word monsoon of a song.