In the highly engaging, thought-provoking world premiere, “Assassination Theatre: Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century” by investigative reporter and author Hillel Levin, the audience is thrust into a very well-presented exploration into the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Offered as somewhat of an acted out documentary complimented by a series of haunting projected images, Levin takes a look at credible proof compiled over the years, whether physical, circumstantial or witness accounts, and makes a convincing argument that the key players involved were members of the Chicago mob.
Says Levin on how he stumbled upon, and then pursued, the story, “The origins of this show go back to 2007, when I wrote a story for Playboy magazine about the burglars who broke into the home of Tony Accardo, Chicago’s long-time mob leader. After the article was published, I was approached by Zach Sheldon, one of the FBI agents featured in the story, who asked, ‘Why don’t you do a real story about the mob?’ When I asked what that was, he replied, ‘How they killed JFK.” This prompted Levin to spend the next seven years in extensive research before concluding what Sheldon and other FBI agents determined. As Levin explains, “The assassination was kind of a theater, staged to put the blame on only one actor in what was, in fact, a much larger production.”
Michael Joseph Mitchell is very convincing as Hillel Levin, wrought with passion and conviction as more and more evidence is revealed. As the investigation unfolds Levin and Zechariah Shelton (performed splendidly by Mark Ulrich) bounce theories off each other, speculating, and furthermore perhaps ultimately proving, the mobs involvement. Ryan Kitley and Martin Yurek do a tremendous job in playing a multitude of characters as they are introduced and revisited in the story. As the story progresses, a flow chart is created of who’s who in the mob and how they connected with alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. In this truly gripping docu-play, mind blowing evidence is brought forward, holes in the famous Warren report are exposed, motive is revealed as well as the means to pull off the crime of the century.
Levin kind of lets the government off the hook as far as any direct involvement they may have had in the actual assassination itself, which might be an unpopular theory to many conspiracy buffs. However, he does implicate the government in covering up the true facts of the crime in order to preserve the peace of the public and to prevent the possibility of war with the Soviet Union. Even after Levin’s very convincing evidence is presented, one might still wonder if such an assassination could have been pulled off without the inside intel of, say, the CIA. Nonetheless, Levin’s beautifully presented theatrical investigation peaks interest from beginning to end without the slightest lull whatsoever.
The argument made for a high-level conspiracy is substantial and far more believable than buying into the lone gunman theory that the media has provided via the government. Of course, Levin is not the first to point this out, nor will he be the last. We’ve seen similarities in other assassinations in that of Robert Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King’s, John Lennon’s, etc., etc. It is admirable that Levin takes such a stance. His investigative presentation is effective and hard-hitting and, at the very least, certain to leave audience members asking questions afterwards, perhaps urging them to research JFK’s assassination for themselves and other potential cover ups rather than opting for complacency and blind belief.
Soundly directed by Kevin Christopher Fox, “Assassination Theater: Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century”, currently playing at the Museum of Broadcast Communications (360 N. State St.) through November 7th, is highly recommended. It is a well-acted, intelligent, quick moving, greatly comprehensible theatre presentation loaded with twits and shocking revelations that is sure to stir one’s interest. For tickets and/or more show information, visit www.assassinationtheater.com.