Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – The SFGN Review

Revisionist History Rocks at the Broward Center

by JW Arnold

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Outre Theatre’s production of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Broward Center contains: strobing lights, profanity, offensive language, political satire, sexual innuendo, sexual out-uendo, taxidermy, corsets, children with tomahawks, bottled water, weasel coats, defaced portraits, twinkies, fake mustaches and a vibraslap. And then there’s the question of revisionist history.

Plenty of modern references pepper the show, which explores Jackson’s youth, rise to prominence as an “Indian fighter” and hero of the Battle of New Orleans, and later, as the populist president who railed against the Washington aristocracy.The rollicking rock musical about our seventh president, a big hit Off Broadway that fizzled on the big, big money stage on Broadway, is the perfect vehicle for Outre and its leadership, artistic director Skye Whitcomb and assistant Sabrina Lynn Gore.

In many ways, the show offers especially relevant commentary today as the public discourse focuses on the one percent and the seeming political power of the monied elite a century and a half later. Stymied by a belligerent Congress, Jackson resorted to sweeping executive actions similar to those taken by President Obama, only to be labeled a tyrant. The book by Alex Timbers and score by Michael Friedman also takes aim at homosexuals, liberals, environmentalists and the other frequent targets of modern conservatives.

Robert Johnston offers a breakout performance, transforming Jackson into an Emo rock star, dramatically delivering the internal conflict the president faced while soaring vocally in numbers such as “I’m Not that Guy” and “I’m So that Guy.” Between the theatrical and musical demands, it’s a tough role to pull off, but Johnston conquers, guyliner and all.

The strong ensemble cast features many familiar young performers, all with strong voices, covering a number of roles: Kaitlyn O’Neill (Rachel Jackson), Rick Pena (Henry Clay), Conor Walton (John Quincy Adams) and Noah Levine (Martin Van Buren). Jennifer Murphy is the lesbian, wheelchair-bound storyteller, a Wellesley grad student who wrote her thesis about Jackson and often gets sidetracked with her personal historical recollections.

The players are accompanied by an accomplished rock band led by Kristen Long, who did triple duty as musical director, keyboardist and the fill-in for the storyteller after Jackson pushes her off a cliff. Yes, a cliff. (We’re thinking that didn’t really happen, either.)

The Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room is an appropriate space for the single set production, a graffiti-covered Antebellum sitting room designed by Gore. She also created the ‘80s punk-inspired costumes that manage never to stray too far from the actual fashions of the early-19th century. And, while the performances were polished and delivered with verve, some of the technical aspects still need some work, lighting and sound, in particular. No doubt the kinks will get worked out over the two-week run.

In many ways, history is still deciding Jackson’s legacy. Did the so-called Trail of Tears make him a visionary who simply enacted manifest destiny or the genocidal murderer of tens of thousands of Native Americans forced to march west?

History is often revisionist and attitudes evolve — or devolve. Just ask the Texas state textbook commission. Regardless, Outre’s production of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” delivers a thought-provoking performance despite the frequent f-bombs, sexual innuendo, sexual out-uendo, taxidermy and the lot.

Auditions for the 2015/16 Season!

The Outré Theatre Company is proud to announce the 2015/16 Season Auditions for its fourth season, “The Power of Woman”! Auditions will be held by appointment only on May 3 and 4 from 6 pm until 10 pm, with callbacks on May 5 and May 10. Auditions and callbacks will be held at Outré’s new home at the Broward Center in the Abdo New River Room. Actors interested in auditioning should submit electronic copy of headshot and resume, as well as which role(s) they are interested in, via email to auditions@outretheatrecompany.com.

The following roles are available unless otherwise noted:

The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, adapted by Robert David MacDonald and Jeremy Sams
Directed by Skye Whitcomb
Runs August 28 – September 13, 2015
Rehearsals begin mid-July 2015.

Macheath – Male, 25-35. The underworld’s most infamous criminal, charismatic and sadistic. Tenor.
Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum – Male, 40-60. The “King of the Beggars,” a cunning and vicious organized crime boss. Baritone.
Celia Peachum – Female, 35-55. The strong-willed matriarch of an organized crime family. Mezzo-soprano.
Polly Peachum – Female, 18-25. The Peachums’ daughter, a bit sheltered but learning fast. Soprano.
Jackie “Tiger” Brown – Male, 30-45. The chief of police and Macheath’s former Army buddy. Baritone.
Lucy Brown – Female, 18-25. Tiger’s daughter, sensual and smart. Soprano.
Jenny – Female, 25-35. Prostitute and former lover of Macheath’s. Mezzo-soprano.
Ensemble (3 men, 3 women) – All ages. Play a variety of roles, including gang members, prostitutes, and constables.
Medea by Euripides
Directed by Skye Whitcomb
Runs March 11-27, 2016
Rehearsals begin mid-February 2016

Medea – CAST. Auditionees will be considered as possible replacements. Female, 30-45. A strong woman consumed by grief and rage as her husband leaves her and her children for a younger woman.
Jason – Male, 35-50. A strong politician, ex-military, who sees political advantage in leaving his wife for a younger woman.
Creon – Male, 40-60. A powerful, well-connected man who approves of Jason’s maneuvering. Jason’s future father-in-law.
Nurse – Female, 30-50. Nanny to Medea and Jason’s children. She herself was left by her husband earlier in life.
Tutor – Male, any age. Tutor to Jason and Medea’s children, he is also a spy for Jason who mistrusts his wife.
Chorus – Six women who represent different aspects of Medea’s psyche. They also step in as various characters.
Goblin Market by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon, adapted from the poem by Christina Rossetti
Directed by Sabrina Lynn Gore
Concert Production
Runs April 8-10, 2016
Rehearsals begin late March 2016

Lizzie – Female, 25-40. A Victorian wife and mother who has returned to her childhood home. Strong and loving. Operatic mezzo-soprano.
Laura – Female, 20-35. Lizzie’s younger sister. A wife and mother herself, she is more impetuous and less proper than her sister. Operatic mezzo-soprano.

Check Out this Great Video for ROOMS!

Outré Announces Its 2015/16 Season!

Outré Theatre Company Announces
“The Power of Woman”
2015/16 Season!

The Outré Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and Managing Director Sabrina Lynn Gore are pleased to announce Outré’s fourth season, and its first full season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. This season will be built around “The Power of Woman,” with productions focusing on the strength, seduction, and experiences of women. The season includes an Outré twist on a classic musical, a modern adaptation of a timeless Greek tragedy, and a punk rock musical spanning the globe, as well as Outré’s signature concert series. All performances will be at the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Outré begins the 2015/16 “Power of Woman” season with the Brecht and Weill satirical musical The Threepenny Opera, the revolutionary play and original ‘mock-pera’ that introduced “epic theatre” to the masses and inspired such musicals as Cabaret and Chicago with its sensual, jazz-drenched melodies and gritty characters. Lending its signature style to this modern classic, Outré is pleased to showcase the dark underworld of London, where Mack the Knife, Polly Peachum, and Pirate Jenny hold sway over the bands of cutthroats, prostitutes, and miscreants. The Threepenny Opera will perform August 28 through September 13, 2015, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm.

Following The Threepenny Opera, Outré turns its attention to the ancient story of a woman with nothing left to lose, Euripides’ tragedy Medea. Reimagined in a modern context, Medea tells us of a woman spurned by her husband for a younger woman, and the lengths to which despair and rage can push us. Medea will perform March 11 through March 27, 2016, with Friday and Saturday night performances at 8 pm and Sunday performances at 2 pm.

In April, Outré brings back its signature concert series with Goblin Market, adapted by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon from the poem by Christina Rossetti. This two-woman musical follows two grown sisters as they return to their childhood home, where the goblins and faeries of their adolescence beckon them to leave the proper Victorian world behind and revel in the pleasures of the senses. Praised by critics and audiences, Goblin Market runs for a single weekend, April 8 through April 10, 2016, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm.

June sees Outré return to the heady punk world of 1977, with a full production of Rooms: a rock romance by Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon. Presented as a concert production during the 2014/15 season, Sabrina Lynn Gore again directs Noah Levine and Erica Mendez in this tale of two young people struggling against the pressures of fame. Dealing with alcoholism, bulimia and unplanned pregnancy, they strive to find themselves and each other. Rooms plays June 10 through June 26, 2016, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 pm on Sundays.

In addition to its normal season, Outré is also thrilled to announce a single-weekend return of Thrill Me by Stephen Dolginoff! Conor Walton and Mike Westrich return to the stage to reprise their roles as Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, the infamous thrill killers of the early twentieth century. Hailed as a triumphant production by critics and audiences, winner of the 2014 BroadwayWorld Awards for Best Musical, Best Ensemble, and Best Lighting Design, and nominated for two Carbonell Awards, Thrill Me will return December 11 through December 13, 2015, with only three performances: Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm.

Outré is proud to call the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts its new home. The Abdo New River Room features a fresh, modern menu of delectable choices with table service offered 90 minutes prior to performances and during intermission for shows that take place in the Abdo New River Room. Please note: arrive at least 15 minutes prior to curtain to ensure table service. No table service is available after the show. Tickets to performances in the Abdo New River Room do not include food or beverages unless otherwise noted.

Season tickets and individual show tickets will be available soon by visiting the Broward Center of the Performing Arts’ website, www.browardcenter.org, or by calling 954-462-0222.

Benefit Gallery Showing on November 14!

The Outré Theatre Company warmly invites you to join us as we celebrate the return of local professional theatre to Fort Lauderdale! We hope you will join us at our Benefit Gallery Showing at Blue Fine Art Gallery, located at 713A East Las Olas Boulevard, on November 14, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

That evening, 20% of your purchase of exquisite, contemporary art from the Blue Fine Art Gallery will be donated to Outré, South Florida’s fastest-growing, award-winning, professional, non-profit theatre company. We cannot thank the Blue Fine Art Gallery enough for their generosity in hosting this fundraising event.

We will be offering complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as entertaining you with live music by Outré’s featured local musical theatre artists. Cocktail attire is suggested, but black tie is also welcome.

Outré Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and Managing Director Sabrina Gore will also be on hand to discuss our upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s Othello, opening on December 5, 2014, at our new home at the newly renovated Adbo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. They will also be previewing our new Black Box Club, which will be launching on opening night of Othello!

Outré has so much to be thankful for this season, including your generous support! Please join Outré Theatre Company for our Benefit at Blue Gallery, on November 14, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

“Back of the Throat” – The Florida Theater On Stage Review!

Outré’s Nightmarish “Back of the Throat” Exposes How Post 9/11 Paranoia Allows Abuses

by Bill Hirschman

 

The temptation is to describe Yussef el Guindi’s nightmarish Back of the Throat as Kafkaesque or satirical absurdism worthy of Lewis Carroll as Outré Theatre Company depicts an America gone mad.

But it’s not. That’s the real horror. The extremities unfolding before the audience are a logical if artistically exaggerated extrapolation of the paranoia and xenophobia unleashed in tandem against Arab-Americans after 9/11. It’s naturalism not surrealism.

Far more than a rant about this country’s excesses after the Twin Towers tragedy, Back of the Throat is a universal cautionary tale of how fear can trump our ideals, even our humanity in the interest of expedient self-defense.

And Outré, operating on a shoestring and specializing in edgy work with a social message, has outdone itself with the best offering of its three-year history – a production so powerful that the opening night audience just sat stunned in their seats after the lights came up.

Other than theatrically staged flashbacks, Back of the Throat is constructed as a real-time 85-minute interrogation of a naturalized Arab-American suspected for some undisclosed reason of complicity in a recent terrorist attack.

Braced in his own apartment after giving permission to two investigators to look around, the hapless innocent Khaled is at first only uneasy at their enigmatic questions.

Khaled is told in a genial but insinuating tone, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.” But the clear message is that he does have something to worry about. The fact that this aphorism is a self-fulfilling double bind means even his mounting anxiety is “evidence” against him.

But genteel inquiries give way to physical violence and shattering humiliation. The noose tightens until he realizes that he is predestined by the feds’ rationalized guilty-until-proven-innocent logic in extremis.

The performances under the sure guidance of artistic director Skye Whitcomb are perhaps the best we’ve seen from everyone involved, especially Rayner G. Garranchan as Khaled, and the always superb Jim Gibbons as Bartlett, the iron fist in a velvet glove interrogator, and Tim Gore as his terrifyingly implacable and methodical partner Carl.

What is especially unnerving about the public servants created by Gibbons and Gore is that while you cannot excuse their abuses for five seconds, the internal logic of their thinking charted by el Guindi is unassailably consistent. Therefore, it has a weird integrity. Right is on their side and there is not a milli-second’s doubt in their mind; that empowers them to violate every American and Judeo-Christian tenet in the book.

That also allows them to indulge in the most backwards thinking processes possible. As Carl gets ready to beat viciously kick Khaled, he says calmly, almost regretfully, “This will take away from your humanity, which is not good for us.” and later, “If you’re innocent, why did I kick you?”

El Guindi, an insightful playwright from Seattle, is not out to demonize the institutions with a one-dimensional screed. The play is an object lesson in the consequences when society’s tacit approval or even indifference enables abuses that counter what we profess to believe in.

In fact, an interesting resonance arises when the interrogators have jettisoned their humanity with almost the same ends-justify-the-means we-have-been-driven-to-this logic that the terrorists themselves use – each extremism engendering the other in a symbiotic dance of death.

El Guindi takes it one step further. The play ends with an eloquent speech by the dead 9/11 plotter who has appeared as a mostly silent ghost or in flashbacks. In a frighteningly calm and measured performance by Freddy Valle, the terrorist explains his rationale in a way that would be seductively persuasive if not for the horror of what we know he plans to wreak.

The playwright carefully constructed this dance with ever-morphing tempos and Whitcomb has matched it step for step. His verbal and physical staging is appropriately fluid. Whitcomb and assistant director Sabrina Lynn Gore have not paced the journey in the sense of it being fast or slow, so much as tightening and loosening and then tightening again the feeling of encroaching doom. With his actors, he has created tones that range from pleasant to threatening. The evening feels like a blind man desperately trying to find an escape from in an ever shifting labyrinth. He also moves the action cinematically between the interrogation and flashback scenes with very different witnesses, all inhabited convincingly by the wonderful Faiza Cherie.

So many of the twists of the garrote are subtle but clear. During the opening scene, Bartlett exudes faux cordial banter with Khaled, “apologizing” for being intrusive even as they blithely violate his space. Carl methodically searches the apartment, paying special attention to the bookcase. Carl removes volume after volume as if he has discovered clues; Khaled becomes increasingly concerned that the titles can be misconstrued. Carl assures him not to worry; they will be out of here in five minutes. Shortly thereafter, with the confiscated books accumulating, Carl takes off his jacket and rolls up his shirt sleeves. Chilling.

Later, an alarmed Khaled, fearing that he is being railroaded, says to the staring men, “I’d like you to leave.” The men don’t even blink. Then, after a second or two of silence, Bartlett says with feigned sympathy, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” It’s now clear that the point of no return has been crossed. But in retrospect, Khaled and we realize that line was crossed when he agreed to cooperate with them. And as we learn later in flashbacks of possible witnesses against him, that line was crossed long before the men arrived.

Occasionally, the lawmen explode in invective and violence – although you wonder if that isn’t just another calculated use of a tack in the interrogators’ toolbox. Gibbons in particular has an unnerving venting speech about how immigrants have the unmitigated gall to invoke Constitutional rights when they are destroying this country—even as he acknowledges that he is the proud great-grandson of immigrant. “Yesterday, it was the Irish and the Poles; tomorrow, it might be the Dutch,” he says.

Garranchan creates a protagonist so breathtakingly ordinary that we cannot help but identify with him. He starts a bit apprehensive as his apartment is inspected. But bit by bit, with Whitcomb’s guidance, Garranchan ramps up the anxiety with a literally open-mouthed expression of amazement and fear as his visitors ignore questions about what he is being accused of. Garranchan’s Khaled hollowly pushes back, invoking his rights, already knowing that these men have no intention of honoring them. By the time Khaled gets angry, it is way too late.

But the play’s success is rooted in the measured performances of Gibbons and Gore as the bureaucratic functionaries who have heard every lie so often, dealt with traitors for so long and who are so convinced of their righteousness that their terrible pursuit is conducted with a surgeon’s dispassion, later revealed to harbor festering rage. These are not slobbering sadistic monsters – which is what makes them all the more frightening.

Gibbons has been one of the region’s best and underused actors for a decade and a half, notable for his honey smooth Louisiana accent with a bourbon kick. While he has played similarly menacing roles (e.g. the policeman in Infinite Abyss’ Project’s The Pillowman in 2011, his talent has just deepened over time. Tall, courtly with piercing blue eyes, Gibbons smoothly changes gears emotionally.

Gore seems transplanted out of a police detective bullpen somewhere. Taciturn and preternaturally all business, even his explosions of violence seem calculated. He seems resentful that this ungrateful slime has forced him to these extremes – although he has no compunction about it at all. The two actor/characters have a nice chemistry of long-time partners, especially the way they exchange glances when Khaled says something neutral that they take as confirmation of their suspicions.

Outré is moving later this season to the Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room, but it has been given temporary quarters at the tiny Sol Children’s Theatre in a strip shopping center in Boca Raton. The space is intimate, ratcheting up the claustrophobic feeling. But it also has a limited number of seats and Outré has had to cut back its schedule, so get your tickets now.

 

“Back of the Throat” by Yussef El Guindi

The Outré Theatre Company is proud to announce Outré’s first production of their third season, Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi. El Guindi’s work has been called “brilliant and sinewy” by the New Yorker, and praised for its “chillingly plausible vision” by the Seattle Weekly.

Set in the years post-9/11, Back of the Throat introduces us to Khaled, an Arab-American writer living in an unnamed American metropolis. In the aftermath of another devastating attack, Khaled finds himself the target of a “casual” inquiry by two government agents. But as rumors swirl and grudges are exposed, the darkness behind such governmental euphemisms as “person of interest” and “extraordinary rendition” is revealed. An unflinching and Strangelovian look at the post-9/11 stripping of Americans’ rights in the name of security, Back of the Throat mixes dark humor with paranoid suspense.

“It’s not a preachy play,” warns director Skye Whitcomb. “There’s a lot of humor to it, which makes it a bit more disturbing. The play really is about how every so often, a particular group in America is singled out. As one of the agents in the play says, yesterday it was the Irish and the Poles, tomorrow it might be someone else entirely. Really, the question the play poses is this: When it’s your turn, your turn to be the scapegoat, who will be your voice? Who will stand up for your rights?”

Managing Director Sabrina Gore, who is also pulling double duty as assistant director and costumer, agrees. “I think the show really speaks to the paranoia and fear that is very prevalent today. But the fear is more of our own government,” she says. “It’s unsettling to think this sort of thing could happen in this country but the truth is, it happens all the time.”

In keeping with Outré’s commitment to community involvement and outreach, Outré will be raising funds during the production for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach, which provides pro bono legal advice and counsel to the disadvantaged. As well, Dr. Abdul Samra of the University of Miami and the Islamic Center of Greater Miami will host a talkback with the audience after the 8 pm performance on Saturday, October 25.

Back of the Throat will be performed at Sol/Evening Star Productions, 3333 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton. The production runs October 24 through November 9, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, with an industry night performance on Monday, November 3, at 8 pm. The production stars Rayner Garranchan, Jim Gibbons, Tim Gore, Faiza Cherie, and Freddy Valle, with set design by Jordon Armstrong, lighting and sound design by Stefanie Howard, and stage management by Jennipher Murphy.

Meet the Casts of “Back of the Throat” and “Othello”!

Outré Theatre Company is proud to announce the casts of its first two shows of the 2014/15 season!

 

First, Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi, running October 24-November 9, 2014, at Sol/Evening Star in Boca Raton!

  • Khaled – Rayner Garranchan
  • Bartlett – Jim Gibbons
  • Carl – Tim Gore
  • Shelley/Beth/Jean – Faiza Cherie
  • Asfoor – Freddy Valle

 

Then, William Shakespeare’s Othello takes the stage at the Broward Center in the Abdo New River Room December 5-21, 2014!

  • Othello – Troy Davidson
  • Desdemona – Faiza Cherie
  • Cassio – Rayner Garranchan
  • Roderigo – Seth Trucks
  • Bianca – Kandace Crystal
  • Iago – Skye Whitcomb
  • Emilia – Sabrina Gore
  • Brabantio – Mark Hetelson
  • The Duke – Tim Gore
  • Montano – Reginald Pierre-Louis
  • Lodovico – Jennipher Murphy
  • Gratiano – Christopher Mitchell
  • Clown/Messenger/Soldier – Bradley Wells
  • Musician/Sailor – Juan Gamero
  • Musician/Sailor – Daryl Patrice Fortson

 

Congratulations to the casts, and we can’t wait for you to join us!

Outré Announces 2014/15 Season Auditions

The Outré Theatre Company will be holding non-Equity season auditions on Monday, July 21, 2014, from 5 pm to 10 pm, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Actors interested in auditioning should submit electronic copy of their headshot and resume, along with the role(s) for which they would like to be considered, to Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb at skye@outretheatrecompany.com when requesting an appointment. The 201closeAn error occurred.4/15 season consists of Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi, Othello by Will Shakespeare, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, book by Alex Timbers. Auditionees DO NOT need to prepare monologues; sides will be sent prior to the auditions. Auditionees wishing to be considered as replacements for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson should also prepare 16 bars of an uptempo rock-style song. The breakdown is as follows:

 

Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi – October 23-November 9

Khaled – male, late 20s to mid-30s – An Arab-American writer, living in a large, unnamed U.S. city. Truly believes in the good of humanity.

Bartlett – male, 30s to 70s – An agent working for an unnamed government agency. Alternately brilliant and cruel.

Carl – male, late 20s to 50s – Another agent. Brutal and simplistic.

Shelley/Beth/Jean – female, mid 20s to mid 30s – Khaled’s ex-girlfriend, a well-intentioned librarian, and a stripper, all of whom are questioned by Bartlett and Carol about Khaled – NOTE: these three roles are played by the same actress

Asfoor – male, early 20s to mid 30s – A jihadist linked to a terror plot

 

Othello by Shakespeare – early 2015

 

Othello – male, late 30s to 50s – A lifelong soldier, known for his calm, collected demeanor; a perpetual outsider

Desdemona – female, 20s – A strong, intelligent young woman raised in a powerful household

Iago (CAST – actors will be considered as possible replacements) – male, late 20s to mid 30s – A career soldier and borderline sociopath; cunning and clever

Emilia (CAST – actors will be considered as possible replacements) – female, late 20s to mid 30s – A career soldier who has watched her marriage dissolve; independent and strong-willed. Iago’s wife

Cassio – male, 20s to 30s – A handsome and intelligent officer, but arrogant at times

The Duke – male, 40s to 70s – The ruler of Venice; calculating and pragmatic

Brabantio – male, 40s to 70s – Desdemona’s father; overprotective and suspicious

Bianca – female, 20s to 30s – A Cypriot woman, rumored to be a prostitute; madly in love/lust with Cassio

Ludovico – male, 30s to 60s – A Venetian nobleman, related to Desdemona

Gratiano – male, 30s to 60s – Another Venetian nobleman, trusted by the Duke

Roderigo – male, 20s to 30s – An oblivious and easily duped romantic

Montano – male, 30s to 50s – A retired soldier, now appointed governor of Cyprus

The Clown – either gender, any age – A servant; witty and a bit too forward

 

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – late spring/early summer 2015

 

All roles have been CAST – actors will be considered as possible replacements.

Macabre Musical “Thrill Me” Brings Chills

Reviewed by Rod Hagwood for the Sun-Sentinel

 

A truly warped and depraved little musical is playing through June 8 at Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center.

Staged with cool efficiency by Outre Theatre Company, “Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story” is a two-man, 90-minute show with so many chilling moments you’ll wish for an intermission so you can catch your breath.

But no, the based-on-real-events-play about America’s original “thrill killers” doesn’t let up one bit. Even with slivers of humor so dark they bleed smoke, the show is a nasty piece of business, made all the more visceral with masterfully menacing performances.

Told in flashback from 1958, the story concerns the relationship between Richard Loeb (Conor Walton) and Nathan Leopold (Michael Westrich), who in 1924 were 19-year-old law students from wealthy Chicago families. But underneath that dapper and patrician façade, the two are engaged in a down-low and dirty power struggle with each other.

Loeb, signaling his sadistic nature right off the bat, greets his adoring prep-school pal Leopold, after a span of time away from each other at different colleges, with an icy, “I only missed the worship.”

In order to stoke the sexual fires, Leopold agrees to a bit of arson, which leads the two to sing, “Nothing Like a Fire.” Out of context, the lyrics could be mistaken for a love ballad about the delights of home and hearth.

But a taste of excitement isn’t enough for Loeb. He wants to feast. Bolstered by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy of the super man and more than a bit of what we now call “affluenza,” Loeb thinks his superiority will allow them to get away with the murder of a 12-year-old boy. “I don’t know how my consciousness worked back then,” Leopold says.

Stephen Dolginoff — who wrote the book, music and lyrics — offers a delicious twist at the end that gives the show its final, triumphant gut punch and shocks you back into reality. How could you have been taken in by two actors, a piano player and a mostly bare stage? Easy. It’s the talented twosome. They’re to blame.