Musical remembers a famous crime

Braedon Cox (left) plays Nathan Leopold and White Rock
Braedon Cox (left) plays Nathan Leopold and White Rock's Michael Gill plays Richard Loeb in the dark musical Thrill Me, opening Nov. 20 at Vancouver's Renegade Studios.
— image credit: Contributed photo

It may seem like an unlikely subject for a musical, but Thrill Me – based on the famous Leopold and Loeb thrill-killing case that shocked Chicago and the world in 1924 – is more than a slick entertainment.

The show, running Nov. 20 to Dec. 2 with 8 p.m. performances at Renegade Studios, 125 E. 2nd St. Vancouver, is the latest production by well-known director (and White Rock Players Club board member) Ryan Mooney and features White Rock born and raised Michael Gill as Richard Loeb and Braedon Cox as Nathan Leopold.

Composer and lyricist Stephen Dolginoff has created what Mooney describes as "a creepy two-man musical" from the story of the two wealthy University of Chicago law students who murdered 14 year-old Robert Franks in an attempt to demonstrate their superior intellects by committing a 'perfect' crime.

When arson and petty crime aren't stimulating enough, the young men kidnap and murder Franks, Loeb's second cousin, believing that as Nietzschean 'supermen' they are exempt from the laws that govern ordinary men.

A story of complicated motivations, with homosexual overtones, Thrill Me is a follow-up to Fighting Chance's most recent show, Little Shop of Horrors, which closed recently after successful runs at White Rock's Coast Capital Playhouse and the Jericho Arts Centre.

"This season I really wanted to examine the heights that people will go to for love," Mooney said.

"This true story shows just what one man is willing to do to find love in an era and in a city that would dismiss him in a heartbeat if they were aware of his homosexuality. He strikes a Devil's deal, but is he an innocent victim in pursuit of love, or is he actually the one pulling the strings?"

Mooney said the intimate 50-seat warehouse venue – an out-of the way meeting place like the ones chosen by Leopold and Loeb to discuss their crimes – is highly appropriate for the dark themes of the show.

"Our audiences have shown time and time again that they enjoy exploring darker subject matter in musical form and I'm honoured to be presenting the Vancouver premiere."

For tickets and information, call 604-807-9268, or visit www.fightingchanceproductions.ca


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