[Warning: spoilers for The Politician, ahead]
Congratulations, you’ve made it far enough into The Politician on Netflix to see it turn into Glee. Just kidding…but not really. In episodes six and seven of your new favorite Ryan Murphy fever dream, the kids of whatever-fancy-California-high-school are putting on a musical! Payton (Ben Platt) is fresh off his presidential victory, but he just found out he actually lost after Astrid (Lucy Boynton) had already dropped out. Maybe putting on Assassins, a musical literally about famous killers, will take his mind off it? Probably not, considering there are two attempts on his life over the course of the production.
Here, everything you need to know about the very real musical.
Every. Drama. Rehearsal. Ever.
So, what’s Assassins about?
A group of successful—and not too successful—presidential assassins share their stories. For example, Payton in The Politician takes on the role of John Hinckley, Jr., the attempted assassin in a March 1981 attack on President Ronald Reagan. A ricocheting bullet fired by Hinckley managed to hit Reagan in the chest; other shots of Hinckley’s wounded members of Reagan’s security detail and his press secretary, James Brady, who died years later as a result of his injuries. In the show, we see Payton watching the shooting over and over on his laptop…for research?
Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch) plays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who also failed to assassinate her target, President Gerald Ford. The only main character on The Politician to be cast as a successful murderer is Ricardo (Benjamin Barrett), who plays John Wilkes Booth, infamous for killing President Abraham Lincoln. It’s kind of ironic, seeing as he tries to follow in Booth’s footsteps by killing Payton (in a very bizarre way), but fails.
It’s by the Stephen Sondheim
You know, the music and lyrics are by the creator of Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Company, the list goes on and on. Assassins originally ran Off-Broadway in 1990, but was revived for the big time in 2004 on the Studio 54 stage.
The Politician kids performed “Unworthy of Your Love” and a truly disturbing rendition of “The Ballad of Booth.” Take a listen to the entire soundtrack on Spotify, here.
“A villain never thinks he’s a villain—he is the hero of his own story,” the director tells the cast. How appropriate, considering at this point it’s very unclear which category Payton falls into.
Emily is the entertainment editor at Cosmopolitan, which is a nice way of saying she watches way too much TV and constantly wants to tell you about it.