Everybody's Got The Right
The Ballad Of Booth
How I Saved Roosevelt
Ballad of Czolgosz
Of Your Love
Ballad of Guiteau
Another National Anthem
November 22, 1963
Everybody's Got The Right Reprise
We open at a shooting gallery at a carnival. The target figures are all men, dressed formally in various fashions from the
last two hundred years. The assassins enter one by one and are encouraged by the Proprieter to solve their problems by picking
up a gun...
EVERYBODY'S GOT THE RIGHT
Proprieter: (to Leon Czolgosz) 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
Hey, pal- don't despair!
You wanna shoot a president?
C'mon and shoot a president!
think they can't be winners.
First prize often goes to rank beginners.
Czolgosz- How much?
Four- fifty. Ivor- Johnson. .32. Rubber handle. Owls stamped on the sides.
Czolgosz- All right. Give me.
Proprieter- (to John Hinckley) 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
Everybody's got the right to be happy...
Don't stay mad, life's not as bad as it seems.
you keep your goal in sight, you can climb to any height.
Everybody's got the right to their dreams...
Czolgosz- (fiddling with gun) Mister-
Hinckley- (putting down money) I said deal!
You. Wait your turn.
Hinckley- It is my turn.
Czolgosz- I was here first-
it now, no violence!
(fixes Czolgosz' gun and watches Guiteau enter)
Hey, fella, feel like you're a failure?
on your tail? Your wife run off for good?
Hey, fella, feel misunderstood?
C'mere and kill a president...
(Guiseppe Zangara enters and leans againt the counter, holding his stomach)
Proprieter- What'sa wrong boy?
Boss-a treat you crummy?
Trouble with your tummy?
bring you some relief!
Here, give some hail-a to da chief-
Zangara- You gimme prize-
Anything you want.
Zangara- I want prize! You gimme prize!
Proprieter- Only eight bucks. Cheap for "anything
Everybody's got the right to be different...
(Samuel Byck enters in a Santa Claus suit)
Even though at times they go to extremes.
Aim for what you want a lot- everybody gets a shot.
the right to their dreams...
("Squeaky" Fromme enters)
Yo, baby! Lookin' for a thrill?
Ferris Wheel is that way!
No, baby! This requires skill-
Okay, you wanna give it a try?
(Sara Jane Moore
enters and spills her bag on the counter)
Jeez, lady! Give the guy some room!
The bumper cars are that way!
lady! Don't forget that guns can go boom!
(John Wilkes Booth enters)
Hey gang- look who's here.
Hey, chief. Loud and clear:
Booth- (to the Assassins) Everybody's got the right to be happy.
"Enough"- its not as tough as it seems.
Don't be scared you won't prevail, Everybody's free to fail.
one can be put in jail for their dreams.
Proprieter- Means your dreams can come true:
Be a scholar!
Proprieter- Make a dollar!
Booth, Proprieter- Free country-!
Booth- Means they listen
Proprieter- Scream and holler-
Booth- Grab 'em by the collar!
Booth, Proprieter- Free country-!
Booth- Means you don't have to sit-
Proprieter- That's it!
Booth- And put up with the shit.
Assassins- Everybody's got the right to some sunshine-
Assassins- Not the sun but
maybe one of its beams! One of its beams!
ALL- Rich man, poor man, black or white...
Pick your apple, take a
Everybody just hold tight to your dreams.
Everybody's got the right to their dreams...
The assassins raise their guns at the targets, but before they can fire, Hail to The Chief is heard and they all scatter-
leaving Booth alone glaring up at an imaginary theatre box.
THE BALLAD OF BOOTH
Announcer- Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln!
Booth's Voice- Sic semper tyrannis! Sic semper tyrannis!
(A Balladeer, a 20th century
folk singer, enters with a guitar)
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...
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 the country, John, because of bad reviews.
lived with a grace and glitter, kinda 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.
that the reason? Tell us, John-
Along with bad reviews?
(We see the inside of a tobacco barn where Booth sits
reading through some newspapers. A pair of crutches at his side.)
Booth- Damn! (He takes out a diary)
(enters) They're coming! They'll be here any minute!
Booth- I need your help. I've got to write this and I can't hold
Herold- Johnny they found us! We've got to get out of here!
Booth- Not till I finish this!
Booth- No! have you seen these papers? Do you know what they're calling me? A common cutthroat! A hired assassin! This
one says I'm mad!
Herold- We must have been mad to think we could kill the President and get away with it!
We did get away with it! He was a bloody tyrant and we brought him down! And I will not have history think I did it for a
bag of gold or in some kind of rabid fit!
Herold- Johnny, we have to go-
Booth- No! I have to make my case! And I
need to take it down!
Herold- We don't have time!
Booth- (draws gun) Take it down.
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 your ship was sinkin', John...
Booth- (glances) 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'd started
Booth- Two: That you did silence your critics in the North by hurling them into prison without benefit
of charge or trial. Three-
Balladeer- They say it wasn't Lincoln, John...
Booth- (to Balladeer) Shut up!
Balladeer- You'd merely had a slew of bad reviews...
Booth-I said shut up!
I have fifty soldiers out here, Booth! Give yourselves up or we'll set fire to the barn!
Herold- Don't shoot I'm coming
Booth- No! (collapses, and turns to Balladeer)
I have given up my life for one act, you understand?
let history rob me of its meaning. Pass on the truth! You're the only one who can. Please...
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 it all! Tell them till they listen!
Balladeer- He said, "Damn you
Lincoln and damn the day you threw the 'U' out of U.S.A!" He said:
Booth: Hunt me down, smear my name
I did it for the fame. What I did was kill the man who killed my country.
Not the Southland will mend, now this bloody
war can end, because someone slew the tyrant- just as Brutus slew the tyrant!
Balladeer- He said:
Booth- Damn you, Lincoln, you righteous whore!
Booth- Tell em! Tell em what he did!
Balladeer, Booth- You
turned your spite into civil war!
Booth- Tell em! Tell em the truth!
Balladeer- And more...
Tell em boy! Tell em how it happened,
How the end doesn't mean that its over.
How surrender is not the end. Tell them:
How the country is not what it was,
Where there's blood on 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 we gave up the field,
we still wouldn't yeild.
How the Union can never recover from that vulgar, high and mighty, niggerlover- Never!
No, the country is not what it was.
(The barn starts to burn as Booth silently prays)
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!
(He holds the gun up to his head. Blackout.
Balladeer- Johnny Booth was a headstrong fellow,
Even he believed the things he said.
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
Damn you, Johnny, you paved the way
For other madmen to make us pay.
Lots of madmen have had their
but only for a day.
Listen to their stories. Hear it in the songs.
Angry men don't write the rules and guns
don't right the wrongs.
Hurts a while but soon the country's back where it belongs.
And that's the truth. Still and
Damn you, Booth!
The 1860's fade away and a small radio is lit up. The announcer pleasantly greets us as El Capitan plays and supporters cheer
HOW I SAVED ROOSEVELT
Radio- That was President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, ladies and gentlemen, speaking to
a crowd of supporters here in Miami's beautiful Bayfront Park. A group of notables are pressing in around the President-elect's
car. There's Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago and-
(some gunshots are heard)
There's been a shot! I can't
see- Wait! Mr. Roosevelt is waving! He's all right! But Mayor Cermak has been hit! The police have somebody in custody. An
immigrant. Guiseppe Zangara. We take you now to a group of eyewitnesses who will tell us what they saw!
(We see 5
bystanders in front of a microphone)
#1- We're crowded up close and I see this guy,
He's squeezing by, I catch
his eye, I say to him, "Where do you think you're trying to go, boy? Whoa, boy!"
I say, "Listen, you runt,
you're not pulling that stunt, No gentleman pushes their way to the front."
I say, "Move to the back!"
Which he does with a grunt- Which is how I saved Roosevelt!
#2- Then well, I'm in my seat, I get up to clap, I feel
this tap, I turn- this sap, he says he can't see, I say "Find a lap and go sit on it!" Which is how I saved-
#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!
All 3- Lucky I was there-
#1- That's why
he was standing back so far!
#3- That's why when he aimed, he missed the car!
All 3- Just lucky I was there,
or we'd have been left bereft of F.D.R!
Zangara- (strapped in an electric chair) You think that I scare? No scare.
You think that I care? No care.
I look at the world- No good. No fair. Nowhere.
When I am a boy, no school.
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.
First I wa 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.
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 its king!
#4- The crowd's breaking up where I hear these shots, and I mean lots-
#5- I thought I'd plotz-
I spotted him-
#5- My stomach was tied in knots-
#4- So I barrelled-
#5- Harold! No what happened
was this: He was blowing a kiss-
#4- She means Roosevelt-
#5- I was saying to Harold, "This weather
#4- When you think that we might have missed seeing him miss!
BOTH- Lucky we were there!
#5- It was a historical event!
#4- Worth every penny that we spent!
Bystanders- Just lucky we were
#1- To think if I let him get up closer!
#3- I saw right away he was insane- Oh this is my husband,
we're from Maine!
#2- He told me to sit but I said, "No, sir!"
#4- This makes our vacation a real
#5- Are you with the press?
#5- Oh God, I'm a mess!
left wing foreigner, thats my guess-
Bystanders- And wasn't the band just fantastic?
No left! 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.
Zangara American! American nothing!
And why there no
For Zangara no photographers!
Only capitalists get photographers!
Lucky I was there!
Zangara- No right! No fair! Nowhere! So what? No sorry! And soon No Zangara! Who care?
(overlapping) I'm on the front page- is that bizarre?
And all of those pictures like a star!
Just lucky I was there!
We might have been left
Zangara- Pull switch!
No care- No more- No- - -
(Zangara is electrocuted)
As the lights dim on the electric chair, we find Leon Czolgosz examining his gun somberly.
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 iron,
Men in the mills to forge the steel,
Men at machines to turn the barrell, mold the trigger,
It takes a lot of men to make a gun... One gun.
Booth- And all you have to do is move your little
Move your little finger and (Trigger clicks)
You can change the world.
Why should you be blue when you've
your little finger?
Prove how just a little finger can change the world.
Czolgosz- I hate this gun.
(Admires gun) What a wonder is a gun!
What a versatile invention! First of all, when you've a gun... (Points it at audience)
Everybody pays attention.
When you think what must be done, think of all that it can do. Remove a scoundrel, unite
a party, preserve a 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!
Guiteau, Booth, Czolgosz- 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- (enters looking through her purse)
I got this really great gun- Shit where is it?
No, its really great- Wait!
(takes out lipstick and drops it back)
Shit where is it? Anyway- Its just a .38...
(takes out a hairbrush)
But- It's a gun! You can make a statement-
(takes out a shoe)
Wrong- with a gun- Even if you fail!
It tells em who you are, where you stand.
was on sale. It- no not the shoe- well actually the shoe was too.
(Fishes in purse again)
No, thats not it- Shit,
I had it here- Got it!
Yeah! There it is! And-
ALL- All you have to do is crook your little finger,
your little finger 'round-
(Triggers click, Moore's fires)
Moore- Shit, I shot it!
can change the world.
Quartet- Simply follow through and look, your little finger can slow them down to a crawl,
show them all, big and small...
It took a little finger no time to change the world.
Czolgosz- (Alone on stage)
A gun kills many men before its 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 its done...
Just One More.
Czolgosz turns and we see the Pan American Exhibition in New York. Fairgoers excitedly stand on line to meet the President.
The Balladeer appears to narrate the event.
THE BALLAD OF CZOLGOSZ
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."
Attendant- Single line, ladies and gentlemen. Line forms here to meet the President
of the United States. Single line to shake hands with President William McKinley.
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 thats just fine: In the U.S.A. you can work your way
to the head of the line!"
Crowd- Big Bill!
Balladeer- Gave em a thrill!
Crowd- Big Bill!
Balladeer- Sold em a bill!
Crowd- Big bill!
Balladeer- Who'd want to kill a man of good will like-
Crowd- Big Bill!
Fairgoer #1- Doesn't the president look marvelous? So round and prosperous!
#2- Do you know what his favorite dish is? It was in the paper. Beef!
Fairgoer #3- I'm told that in his spare time
he enjoys collecting coins!
(Czolgosz joints the end 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 Lillies at the great Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, in Buffalo!"
Wrapped him a handkercheif round his gun, said, "Nothing wrong about what I done. Some men have everything and some
have none- thats 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 your goals and seize the day, you've been given the freedom to work your way to the head of the line...
(Czolgosz reaches McKinley and fires)
To the head of the line!"
As the lights fade, we see John Hinckley with his guitar singing to a picture of Jodie Foster, while on the other side of
the stage Squeaky Fromme sings to Charles Manson.
UNWORTHY OF YOUR LOVE
Hinckley- I am nothing, you are wind and water and sky, Jodie.
Tell me, Jodie, how I can
earn your love.
I would swim oceans, I would move mountains, I would do anything for you. What do you want me to do?
am unworthy of your love, Jodie, Jodie.
Let me prove worthy of your love.
Tell me how I can earn your love, set me
How can I turn your love to me?
Fromme- I am nothing. You are wind and devil and God, Charlie.
my blood and my body for your love. Let me feel fire, let me drink poison, tell me to tear my heart in two.
what you want me to do...
I am unworthy of your 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 your life...
Fromme- I would come take you from
Hinckley- You would be queen to me, not wife-
Fromme- I would crawl belly deep through hell!
Baby I'd die for you!
Fromme- Baby I'd die for you!
Hinckley- Even though-
Fromme- Even though-
I will always know!
I am unworthy of your love,
Let me be 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...
We now see the gallows... with a hangman waiting on the top step. Charles Guiteau stands at the foot of the gallows confidently.
THE BALLAD OF GUITEAU
Guiteau- I am going to the Lordy I am so glad
I am going to the Lordy I am so glad
am going to the Lordy, Glory Hallelujah!
Glory Hallelujah! I am going to the Lordy...
Balladeer- Come all ye
Christians and learn from a sinner:
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."
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 your 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 smeone up there. The Lord's my employer and now he' my lawyer so do what you dare!"
Charlie said, "Hell, if I am guilty then God is is as well." But God was acquitted and Charlie committed
until he should hang. Still, he sang:
Guiteau- (cakewalking up and down the steps)
Look on the bright side, Look
on the bright side
Get off your backside, shine those shoes!
This is your 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...
(finishes his dance closer to the hangman)
I am going to the Lordy...
Charlie Guiteau had a crowd at the scaffold-
Guiteau- I am so glad.
Balladeer- -Filled up the square. So
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- (feverishly) Look on the bright side, Look on the
bright side... Sit on the right side...
(reaches Hangman) Of the...
(Takes a step back but climbs slowly again)
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
I shall be remembered!
I am going to the Lordy!
(Hangman adjusts noose)
Look on the bright side, not on the sad side
Inside the bad side something's good!
This is your 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-
Yes I could!
(Hangman puts hood over Guiteau)
Balladeer- Just wait until tomorrow, tomorrow they'll all
What if you never got to be president? You'll be remembered-
(Guiteau dances briefly)
on the bright side-
Trust in tomorrow-
Guiteau, Balladeer- And the
(Hangman pulls the trapdoor lever.)
ANOTHER NATIONAL ANTHEM
(A Lamentation is heard)
Czolgosz- I did it because it is 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 my everlasting love...
I did it to make them listen to Charlie...
Zangara- I did it 'cause my belly was on fire...
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- Where's my prize?
Czolgosz- I did it because no one cared about the poor
Moore- I did it so I'd know where I was coming from...
Byck- I want my prize.
Zangara- I did it 'cause the bosses made my belly burn...
Hinckley- I did it so she'd pay attention...
Moore- So I'd have someplace to come from, and someplace to go...
Byck- Don't I get a prize?
Guiteau- 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- 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...
Byck- I did it to make people listen.
Czolgosz, Fromme- They promised me a prize...
Hinckley- Because she wouldn't take my phone calls...
ALL- What about my prize?
nothing stopped the fire!
ALL- I want my prize!
Byck- Nobody would listen!
Assassins) And it didn't mean a nickel, you just shed a little blood and a lot of people shed a lot of tears.
made a little moment and you stirred a little mud-
But it didn't fix the stomach and you've drunk your 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
Byck- Yeah it's never gonna happen, is it? No sir...
No we're never gonna get the prize-
Fromme- No one listens.
Byck- Are we?
Byck- No it doesn't make a bit of difference, does it?
Others- Didn't. Ever.
Byck- Fuck it!
Others- Spread the word...
All- 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 usherette's a rock star-
Byck- Right it's never gonna gonna happen is it? Is it!
Byck, Czolgosz- No, we'll never see the day arrive-
Assassins- (variously) Spread the word!
No one's gonna even care if we're alive...
Someone's gonna listen!
national anthem playing, not the one you cheer at the ball park.
Moore- Where's my prize?
the other national anthem saying- if you want to hear- it saiys "Bullshit"!
Czolgosz- It says "Never"!
Guiteau- It says "Sorry"!
Others- 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 ball park! 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.
those who keep forgetting how the country's built on dreams-
Assassins- People listen-
Balladeer- And the
mailman won the lottery!
Assassins- They may not want to hear it, but they listen, once they think its gonna stop
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- (to Assassins) I've got news...
They hear the sobs, they hear the drum...
Balladeer- You forgot about the country!
Assassins- The muffled
drums, the muffled dreams...
Balladeer- So its now forgotten you!
Assassins- And they rise...
You know why I did it? Because there isn't any Santa Claus!
Assassins- Where's my prize?
Assassins- What's my prize?
Balladeer- How quick it heals-
Assassins- Promises and
Balladeer- That its 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!
(They advance on the Balladeer, forcing him off the stage)
Well there's another national anthem and I think it just began in the ballpark. Listen hard...
Like the other national
anthem says to each and every fan:
If you can't do what you want to, then you do the things you can. You've gotta try
Like they say, you've gotta keep on trying everyday!
Until you get a prize... Until you get a prize...
you're heard- musn't get discouraged.
Spread the word- musn't give up hope.
Up to you-
-It's never gonna happen!
Spread the word...
ALL- You can always get a prize...
Booth- You can
always get your dreams...
Byck- Sure the mailman won the lottery...
As each voice disappears into the distance, we hear a modern radio station being clicked off. John Wilkes Booth walking through
the Texas Book Depository spots Lee Harvey Oswald reading a note he had just written. He pauses and watches Oswald prepare
to commit suicide. He begins whistling and Lee shoves his gun into his lunch pail.They converse.
NOVEMBER 22, 1963
Oswald- Who are you?
Booth- My name is John Wilkes Booth.
Oswald- John Wilkes Booth shot
Booth- Attention has been paid. All your life you've wanted to be part of something, Lee. You're finally
going to get your wish.
(He gestures and the other Assassins appear)
Oswald- What is this?
past you never had, the future you'd abandoned- it's called History, Lee.
Guiteau- My name is Charles Guiteau. I assassinated
President James Garfield.
Czolgosz- Leon Czolgosz. William McKinley.
Byck- Sam Byck. I'm gonna try to kill Dick Nixon.
Hinckley- John Hinckley. Ronald Regan.
Fromme- Lynette Fromme-
Moore- Sara Jane Moore-
Fromme, Moore- Gerald
Zangara- Zangara. F.D.R.
Oswald- I don't get this-
Moore- It's simple, Lee.
Czolgosz- (indicated pre-Oswald
assassins) You're going to bring us back.
Hinckley- (indicated post-Oswald assassins) And make us possible.
We're in your debt, old boy.
Byck- This Bud's for you, babe.
(They crowd around him and pat
his back. He grabs his lunch pail and pushes past them)
Hinckley- What's he doing?
Oswald- Getting out of here!
Guiteau- You mean you're not going to do it?
Oswald- Goddamn right!
(The assassins turn to Booth)
He's not going to do it!
Fromme- You said he would!
Hinckley- You promised!
Booth- Okay! Okay! Shhhh... Lee, I'm
sorry. I know things are happening kind of fast here. But you can't leave now.
Oswald- No? Watch me!
Booth- You have
a responsibility here, Lee.
Oswald- To who? To you?
(The assassins respond with a chorus of "Yes!")
Oswald- I'm responsible to me and no one else!
Booth- Not anymore Lee. Fifty years from now they'll still be
arguing about the grassy knoll, the Mafia, some Cuban crouched behind a stockade fence. But this- right here, right now, this
is the real conspiracy. And you're a part of it.
Oswald- Get ouf of my way!
Booth- Listen to me, Lee. You have to
do this. Now. You won't get another chance.
Oswald- So what? So I'll do something else. I'll shoot my wife. I'll shoot
my kids. I won't shoot anyone! Who cares!?
Booth- He wants to know who cares... I care you stupid fool! We ALL care! Haven't
you been listening for Christ's sake?! Are you such a vapid, vacuous nonentity?
(The assassins quietly shush him)
Booth- Sorry. I'm Sorry... John-
Hinckley- Yes, sir?
Booth- John, when Lee was 8 he had a dog. What was its
Booth- The marines sent him to radar school. Where?
Hinckley- The Naval Air Station, Jacksonville
Booth- The KGB official who debriefed him in the Kremlin- what was his name and rank?
Booth- Eighteen years from now when John tries to assassinate President Reagan, they're going to search
his room, and you know what they're going to find? Every book about you ever written.
Hinckley- (to Oswald) Can I have
Booth- (at window) Take a look, Lee. You know what this is, outside that window? That's America! The Land
Where Any Kid Can Grow Up To Be President. The Shining City, Lee. It shines so bright you have to shade your eyes. But in
here, this is America, too. "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation". An American said that. And he was
right. But there are no lives of quite desperation here. Desperation, yes. But quiet? I don't think so. Not today. Today we're
going to make a joyful noise. This is the big one. You're the big one! You're the one that's going to sum it all up and blow
it all wide open. Why, after you...
Guiteau- Tell him.
Booth- Should I tell him?
Assassins- Go on... Tell
him... Go Ahead!
Booth- What the hell... is Artie Bremer here tonight? Where's Artie Bremer!?
(in the audience) It was a bum rap! My penis made me do it!
Booth- Who's next? Who else is out there?
Death to the enemies of Palestine!
Booth- Of course, of course! Sirhan Sirhan!
(A rebel yell is heard)
And James Earl Ray!
(Assassins mimic rebel yell)
Booth- Why do these rednecks always have three names? James
Earl Ray, John Wilkes Booth-
Oswald- Lee Harvey Oswald!
Booth- I've seen the future, Lee. And you are it.
radio comes on by itself)
Announcer- -and now the motorcade is turning onto Elm Street. There's someone holding up
a banner. "All The Way With JFK." The President is smiling and waving as his car heads for Dealy Plaza where it
will swing past the Texas Book Depository and-
(Radio promptly goes dead. Booth hands Oswald the rifle)
People will hate me.
Booth- They'll hate you with a passion, Lee. Imagine people having passionate feelings about Lee
(Oswald turns his back to Booth)
Booth- Somebody, help me.
(Zangara steps forward
and begins speaking in Italian)
Moore- Please, I beseech you...
Czolgosz- We are the hopeless ones. The lost
Guiteau- We live our lives in exile...
Byck- Expatriates in our own country.
Hinckley- We drift from
birth to death, despairing...
Guiteau- But through you and your act, we dare to hope.
Through you are your act, we are revived and given meaning...
Czolgosz- Our lives, our acts are given meaning!
Our frustrations fall away.
Byck- Our fondest dreams come true...
Fromme- Today we are reborn through you.
We need you, Lee.
Moore- Without you, we're just footnotes in a history book.
Guiteau- "Disappointed office seeker"
Czolgosz- "Deranged immigrant"
Booth- "Vainglorious actor"
Fromme- Without you we're a bunch
Hinckley- With you, we're a force of history.
Guiteau- We become immortal!
Zangara- Finally we belong.
Moore- To one another.
Czolgosz- To the nation.
Guiteau- To the ages.
Byck- Bring us together, babe.
You think you can't connect. Connect to us.
Czolgosz- You think you're powerless. Empower us.
Booth- Its in your grasp,
Lee. All you have to do is move your little finger.
You can close the New York Stock Exchange.
down the schools in Indonesia.
Moore- In Florence, Italy, a woman will leap from the Duomo clutching a picture of your
victim and cursing your name...
Czolgosz- Your wife will weep-
Fromme- His wife will weep-
Zangara- The world
Guiteau- Grief. Grief beyond imagining-
Moore- The death of innoncence and hope-
Czolgosz- The bitter burdens which you bear-
Byck- The bitter truths you carry in your heart-
Guiteau- You can
share them with the world!
Booth- You have the power of Pandora's Box, Lee. Open it.
(Oswald takes the gun from
Booth and crouches at the window)
Guiteau- I envy you...
Moore- We're your family...
Hinckley- I admire you...
Czolgosz- I respect you...
Moore- Make us proud of you...
Booth- I envy you...
Guiteau- We're your family...
Hinckley- I admire you...
Fromme, Moore- We're depending on you...
Zangara- You are the future...
Moore- We're your family...
Czolgosz- We respect you...
Byck, Guiteau- Make them listen to us, we've been waiting
Byck, Zangara- Make them listen, boy...
ALL- (Variously) We admire you,
we're your family,
are the future,
we're depending on you,
make us proud,
all you have to do is squeeze your little finger...
your little finger- you can change the wor-
A powerfully mournful Hail To The Chief plays as the assassins slowly vanish into the shadows. Oswald drops the rifle and
runs off. Booth reappears, burns Lee's suicide note and exits. An American flag is veiwed at half mast.
Slowly, as the
book depository disappears, we see the Assassins once again- and a picture of Jack Ruby killing Oswald.
EVERYBODY'S GOT THE RIGHT (REPRISE)
Booth- Everybody's got the right to be happy.
Don't be mad. Life's not as
bad as it seems.
Czolgosz- If you keep your goal in sight, you can climb to any height...
Everybody's got the right to their dreams.
Moore- Everybody's got the right to be different.
If you want to be different...
Guiteau- Even though at times they go to extremes...
Booth, Czolgosz, Moore-
Go to extremes!
Zangara- Anybody can prevail-
Byck- Everybody's free to fail-
ALL 6- No one can
be put in jail for their dreams!
Hinckley- Means that you've got the choice:
Be a scholar!
Byck- Make a dollar!
ALL- Free country!
Czolgosz- Means that you get a voice!
Zangara- Scream and holler!
Fromme- Grab 'em by the collar!
ALL- Free country-
you get to connect.
Moore, Fromme- That's it!
ALL- Means the right to expect that you'll have an effect,
that you're gonna connect-
Everybody's got the right to some sunshine-
the sun but maybe on of its beams.
One of its beams!
Rich man, poor man, black or white-
Everybody gets a bite!
Everybody just hold tight to your dreams-
Everybody's got the right to their dreams!
(The Assassins all fire.
The revival of Assassins at Studio 54 may be gone now but it garnered
some Tony awards including Best Revival and the message in our present state of affairs was intriguing. Very
powerful stuff. I wept from scene one! :) Sympathy for assassins? You'd be surprised...
I was given the great honor and pressure to play Booth at Queens College
in the summer of 2013.