A Demon Oozes Charm

Joshua Peterson and Eric Liddick in “Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story”

An unlikely musical hit was produced recently at the Marigny Theater by the adventurous To Do Productions. “Thrill Me: The Leopold And Loeb Story,” sets to music the familiar tale of the 1924 random thrill-killing of 14-year-old Bobby Franks by precocious, well-to-do Jazz Age geniuses Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.
After the 80-minute, intermission-less songspiel by Stephen Dolginoff, few came out of the theater humming “If We Killed My Brother John” or “Life Plus 99 Years.” But, as played by accomplished accompanist and musical director Jim Walpole and staged by director Glenn Meche, the music and action propel the tale swiftly and inexorably toward its inevitable conclusion.  
Co-producer Donald “Donnie Jay” James designed the costumes, including an unforgettably dazzling yellow period suit for Loeb. Timm Holt, co-producer and owner of the theater, designed the evocative lighting for the sparse set and spare story.
The production was well cast. Making his local debut, Eric Michael Liddick portrayed Leopold. This writer has always felt that Leopold was the driving force of the deadly duo whose bid for the “perfect crime” was foiled by chance, human error and hubris. The script explores the not-so-subtle sado-masochistic underpinnings of their relationship and acknowledges law student Leopold as the pair’s ultimate mastermind.
The career-making role, however, belongs to Joshua Peterson as Loeb. After relocating to New Orleans, Peterson has spent the past year in the chorus of various musicals. Those days may be behind him. With a fine voice, classic good looks and a definite stage presence, Peterson perfectly portrayed Loeb’s self-image of the ultimate Nietzschean Superman. There is no stretch of the imagination to see how women, men, law school admission counselors and, well, anyone might have become obsessed with his surface, despite the rotten substance below. A devil in a pleasing form, Peterson’s Loeb is a devious, manipulative, petulant, psychopathic teen, who, above all, oozes charm. •

You Might Also Like

Another Opening

Reviving downtown theaters

10 Things to Do in New Orleans This Weekend

Our top picks for events happening in the weekend of July 25-27.

On Stage

Performance Calendar

Roar of the Crowd on Bayou Lafourche

OnStage Performance Calendar

July

Add your comment:

Latest Posts

A Second Look at CellarDoor

Table for one

Planning quality me-time to relax, rejuvenate and have fun.

A Contemplation on Celebration

Just about every day has a designated cause or product.

POLS IN PRISON

NAGIN WAS THE LATEST; RICHARD LECHE WAS THE FIRST

Alliance Française

30 years of keeping French Culture Alive in New Orleans.