Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story makes its Gateway City debut at Gaslight Theatre, Aug. 4. This breathtaking, two-character musical drama recounts the chilling true story of the legendary duo who committed one of the most heinous and headline grabbing crimes of the twentieth century. Focusing on their obsessive relationship and utilizing Leopold’s 1958 parole hearing as a framework, Thrill Me reveals the series of events in 1924 Chicago that led about-to-be law students Leopold and Loeb to be forever remembered as “the thrill killers.”
“The story of Leopold and Loeb is timeless,” said Director Brooke Edwards. “It is beyond their crime and their eventual punishments. I find it is their relationship that was so compelling. They manipulated each other and were seduced by one another and Nietzsche and his writings. They lived in a time and social standing that didn’t allow for someone to be a homosexual. This alone drove Nathan Leopold to be manipulated by Richard Loeb, strictly because he was lonely and wanted love and he could trust Richard to keep it discreet. And then there are all the intricacies of the boys themselves: Their intelligence, their hobbies, the planning of the crime. It is a timeless compelling tale.”
Nathan Leopold was passionate about Richard Loeb, who was passionate about crime and excitement. They created a secret agreement to satisfy each other’s needs. Soon Richard convinced Nathan that they embodied Nietzsche’s idea of the “Superman” and were above society. Then he drew him into his plan to lure a young boy to his death just to prove they could get away with it. But soon their perfect crime unraveled due to a careless mistake. Or was it so careless?
“They are portrayed as the boys they were,” explained Edwards. “They are young and exciting. Nathan is a bit more needy, where Richard is arrogant and confident. It was extremely important to me that everything in the show was grounded and real so that it wasn’t campy.”
With Book, Music, and Lyrics by Stephen Dolginoff, Thrill Me is a Drama Desk Award Nominee for Best Musical and Best Music Score.
“I hope audiences leave not judging these two boys,” Edwards concluded. “But realizing we are all capable of making decisions that we may later regret, for love—for someone’s affections, whether gay or straight. Loneliness, need and want can drive us to be seduced and manipulated, just like these boys.”
Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story features Blake Berry Davy as Richard Loeb and James Bleecker as Nathan Leopold and runs August 4 – 14th (Thurs, Fri, Sat, at 8 p.m.; Sun at 7 p.m.) at Gaslight Theatre. Tickets are $30 general admission $25 for students and seniors. Opening Gala Performance Thursday, August 4th at 8pm $50 per ticket, includes reception afterward and meet and greet with cast. Check out www.maxandlouie.com for more info.
BY: COLIN MURPHY – SENIOR WRITER