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BWW Feature: MASH NOTE TO THRILL ME at Richmond Triangle Players

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BWW Feature: MASH NOTE TO THRILL ME at Richmond Triangle PlayersIt was early 2007, during Richmond Triangle Players' Fieldens Cabaret years, that the company produced Stephen Dolginoff's musical "Thrill Me."

I hadn't heard of Dolginoff or the show. It premiered in New York in 2003, and as of 2020 it's had over 150 productions in 17 countries. It's a two-character musical exploring the dark themes evoked by the infamous 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder in Chicago. Leopold and Loeb came from wealthy Jewish families; to prove their superiority to ordinary people, they murdered a randomly chosen 14-year-old boy from a similar family, Bobby Fisher.

In an interview about the show, Dolginoff said, "I had two different ideas floating around my head. One was to do a true crime musical and the other was to do a two-character musical about an intense, unusual relationship between two people." "Thrill Me" satisfied both those criteria.

Chris Hester played the charismatic Loeb, and Elliott Lau was the worshipful Leopold in this nearly-sung-through piece. Both actors did great work with the tricky songs and the challenging tone. John Knapp directed; Tim Gillham was the music director; Tim Brewster provided the fine piano accompaniment.

The show was gripping. The mundane horror was intense. The production's impact lingers.

Photo credit: K. Jenna Ferree


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From This Author Susan Haubenstock