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Handsome and dashing, the dark-haired man sings with powerful melancholy, "The country is not what it was," lamenting the passing of the good, old days. Do you empathize with him? "Him" being John Wilkes Booth, the first man to kill an American president. If Lincoln represents the American dream made manifest, what does Booth represent? He also dreamed of a better America, he also loved his country, and he would do whatever he could to improve it. You can argue with his methods, but Booth changed the country as much as Lincoln did. And that's the crux of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins. As the men and women who killed or attempted to kill a president tell their respective tales, you have to wonder — is it their conviction that makes them each a powerful catalyst for change, or is it the gun? New Line Theatre presents Assassins at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (March 6 through 29) at the Ivory Theatre (7620 Michigan Avenue; 314-534-1111 or www.newlinetheatre.com). Tickets are $10 to $18.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: March 6. Continues through March 29, 2008

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