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Theatre: Thrill Me
Nathan: Nietzsche? When did you become interested in philosophy?
Richard: When I discovered that I am a textbook Superman.

A two-man musical by Stephen Dolginoff, based on the real-life teenage "thrill killers" Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who murdered a twelve-year-old boy in 1924 Chicago pretty much just to prove that they could. The story is told by Leopold at his parole hearing years later, as he attempts to show the parole board that he was only going along with Loeb, his lover and best friend. (The real Leopold was successful in his attempt to be released, as he is in the end of the show, and lived an uneventful life as a florist after marrying a woman on the outside.) Three cast recordings have been released.

(If the author is reading this, the fan album is now cancelled and no further action in that direction will be taken, and no disrespect was intended. Thank you for your contact, sir.)

The score is notable for its spareness- two singers and a piano, though the piano arrangement was made more delicate and complex for the 2006 production. This remains the official version.

This work includes examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Richard pretends Nathan is this, but that's thoroughly subverted by the time they sing, "There's Nothing Like a Fire".
  • Anguished Declaration of Love
    Richard: [reluctantly] ...I...I screw up without you.
    Nathan: What?
    Richard: I screw up without you, okay!
    Nathan: ...You never said you needed me before.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: See Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Beware the Superman: The motive for murder is, roughly, "We felt like it. Anyway, why should these rules apply to us?"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Do you like Nathan? He got parole, but who knows how well he's going to be able to start on the outside. Do you like Nathan not so much? He got paroled.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Both boys are eminently screwed up, but Nathan is presented as merely hapless and troubled, and seems a lot like just a desperate, needy teenager who probably just could have benefited from a few generous heaps of therapy; while Richard is played as pure charismatic sociopath, except for being unnervingly childish and unable to show much emotion beyond fear and giddy joy when he's not being frighteningly calm.
  • Blood Brothers: Nathan and Richard sign a contract in blood per Richard's instruction, and then Nathan clasps Richard's hand while they're still bleeding to seal the deal.
  • BSOD Song: "Afraid", when Richard's shrunken conscience finally kicks in and he has a severe Freak Out.
  • Cain and Abel: Richard's original plan is to kill his brother John. He has a frightening number of possible methods already under consideration, including "make it look like rape".
  • Conveniently Cellmates: Lampshaded and subverted.
  • Didn't See That Coming: In a case of unknown knowns, Richard doesn't plan for the fact that Nathan could turn him in.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Richard, a lot of the time.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: It is theoretically possible to sing "Roadster" solely as charm hiding menace, and not make it sound like a seduction. It's conceivable that some performer has even done so.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Nathan. He acts this way through the whole show, though the clearest example is in "Everybody Wants Richard", where he reminds Richard that even though Richard's fully capable of manipulating other people into going along with him, he's the only one who can keep up (see: Pair the Smart Ones).
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Richard, according to Nathan.
  • Final Love Duet: "Life Plus 99 Years" is a fittingly twisted version.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Both of them are rather worryingly obsessed with each other, a point emphasized by the two-person cast.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Nathan's in love with Richard, Richard wants to commit crimes. Cue steady escalation of crimes...
  • The Masochism Tango: The show is largely about Richard and Nathan getting themselves and each other into worse and worse situations, and neither of them wanting to end the relationship.
  • Out-Gambitted: Nathan's been acting like he's been going along with the plan, but in fact had been setting it up according to his own goals all along.
  • Our Love Is Different: The entirety of "Everybody Wants Richard" is Nathan trying to convince Richard—and possibly himself—that this is the case.
  • Outlaw Couple: They're in a sexual relationship and they murdered a kid.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: How did they end up together? They graduated college at 19; no one else could keep up.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Richard, when he's in crime-planning mode.
  • Queer Romance: Nathan and Richard don't have the healthiest relationship, but it certainly is a relationship.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: As mentioned, this is based on the thrill killers case.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Richard and Nathan get as far as stating explicitly that they're about to have sex, but the lights always shift before it happens.
  • Straw Nihilist: The boys' crimes are inspired by their love of Nietzsche's works and consider themselves supermen.
  • Teens Are Monsters
  • Tragic Villain: Nathan paints himself at this, and does appear to honestly have gotten caught up in Richard.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: You know they're not going to get away with killing the kid; they talk about it too much. Nathan's hidden plan goes fine, though.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Richard thinks everything's going according to his plan, though with a few mishaps. Nathan knows otherwise.
  • Villain Love Song: Nathan's interested in Richard who's turned on by crime, so Richard sings about crime and sex with Nathan in "There's Nothing Like a Fire", "A Written Contract", "Superior", and "Keep Your Deal with Me". Richard also tends to just sing this way—he isn't even vaguely interested in Bobby (who's twelve in this musical), but it's hard to hear "Roadster" as anything but a seduction.
  • Villain Song: Everything in the score after "Everybody Wants Richard", and especially "Roadster."
  • Villainous Breakdown: In "Afraid", Richard realizes his best option is life in prison as a child murderer, and becomes gradually more distraught.
  • Villainous Friendship: Nathan is Richard's accomplice, and they're certainly something, though how much of that is friendship/lovers and how much is manipulation is left up in the air for most of the show.
  • Villainous Lament: Again in "Afraid", Richard's alone in a cell actually thinking over what he's done, and realizes he can't actually justify it.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The story is narrated by Nathan years later.
  • Wretched Hive: Richard sees Chicago as one of these, and figures they won't get caught because there are loads of other criminals that can be blamed for the murder. He's wrong about the second part, but Chicago was monstrously corrupt and crime-ridden in the Prohibition era. (See Public Enemies, Chicago, and The Untouchables.)
  • Xanatos Gambit: Richard keeps acting like he's pulling one of these. In the last scene, Nathan reveals he pulled one to get them put in prison together—after all, they were either together for life in prison, or together in death.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Richard convinces Nathan that he's worth prison or death in "Keep Your Deal with Me".
Punk RockTurnOfTheMillennium/TheatreToo Many Cooks

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