With recent productions including Ragtime and an immigration-themed Man of La Mancha, Theatre Latté Da is accustomed to bringing national politics to the musical stage. Assassins, though, is a little more direct. Stephen Sondheim’s 1990 musical explores the stories, and the psyches, of men who have killed (or attempted to kill) American presidents: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, and others. “At the core of the piece,” explains director Peter Rothstein, “is what happens when people feel disenfranchised, what happens when people think they’ve been promised some idea of America and that fails them.” This is charged material, and Rothstein is going to make sure we can’t keep ourselves at a safe remove. The show opens in a shooting gallery, and the entire Ritz Theater stage is going to become a midway—with the audience invited to participate. “The theater opens an hour before the performance starts,” explains Rothstein. “The actors are all working the carnival, the bar is onstage; it’s popcorn and peanuts and carnival games. The carnival is a big part of the commentary on the piece, and I would love the audience to feel like they aren’t just observers. It’s impossible in 2018 to think you’re not part of this carnival.