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The murder of an American president is a strange theme for a musical, and yet it's only within the artificial confines of a musical that we can accept some of the thoughts presented in Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins. Musicals allow real intimacy with the inner lives of their protagonists -- they sing what they feel, so you feel it too -- and that convention allows justly maligned figures such as Squeaky Fromme and John Hinckley Jr. to explain themselves on a one-to-one level. You may not agree with them or even like these killers (and would-be killers), but you'll understand something of their frustration, their rage and their confusion. The November Theater Company makes its debut with a production of Assassins at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (September 26 through October 5) at the Ivory Theatre (7620 Michigan Avenue; 314-690-1778 or www.11theater.com). Admission is $15 to $25.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 26. Continues through Oct. 5, 2014

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