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Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story. Photo by Matthew Kitchen.

THRILL ME: The Leopold and Loeb Story

York Medical Society, Stonegate, York

Stephen Dolginoff's musical Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story is based on the true story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, the so-called “thrill killers” who murdered a young boy in 1924 in an attempt to commit the perfect crime.

Pick Me Up’s York premiere starred George Stagnell and Sam Hird, who in August 2017 wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe with their performances of Private Peaceful and Songs From A Shropshire Lad.

Dolginoff's astonishing musical examines the relationship between the two wealthy and highly intelligent teenage Chicago law students who committed what newspapers called “the crime of the century”.

The Pick Me Up production played to hugely enthusiastic full houses and was hailed as "superb" in a five-star review by the York Press, whose arts editor Charles Hutchinson said: "Hird and Stagnell are admirably skilled in conveying both the intellectual and physical to and fro as they tread the shifting sands of their relationship."

You can see how audiences reacted – and hear a short clip from the show here:

15-18 January 2018


Nathan Leopold
Sam Hird

Richard Loeb
George Stagnell

Voices of Parole Board and Radio Newscaster

Bryan Bounds

Sandy Nicholson

Mark Hird


Book, lyrics and music by

Stephen Dolginoff

Directed by

Robert Readman

Musical director

Sam Johnson


Adam Moore Tech 247


Teresa Carr, Jane Carr

Stagnell plays Loeb, who’s obsessed by the philosophy of Nietzsche and believes himself a “Superman” above the law and the rest of society.

Hird plays Leopold, who’s obsessed with Loeb and becomes his willing accomplice, prepared to do anything for him in return for his love and attention.

Together, they sign a contract in blood and plot the perfect murder ... for the thrill of it. But their plans start to unravel when police discover Leopold is the owner of  a pair of distinctive glasses found at the murder scene. 

George Stagnell (top) as Richard Loeb and Sam Hird as Nathan Leopold. Photo by Matthew Kitchen.

The intense and intimate two-hander focuses on the twists, turns and shifts of power in the relationship between Leopold and Loeb as it tells their story in flashback. Dolginoff says the musical is less about the murder they committed and more about what we're prepared to do for the person we love – "things we wouldn't do on our own".

Stagnell’s other previous work with Pick Me Up includes playing Czolgosz in Assassins, Dakin in The History Boys and Patsy in Spamalot, and directing acclaimed productions of Les Miserables and Dogfight.

Hird’s previous Pick Me Up roles include Jean Valjean in Les Mis, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, the Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins, Scripps in The History Boys, Freddy in My Fair Lady,  Jack in Into The Woods, Ritchie Valens in Buddy, and Marlow in She Stoops To Conquer.

The production – at the atmospheric York Medical Society on York's Stonegate – is directed by Robert Readman, and the musical director is Sam Johnson, who provided the music for the Edinburgh Fringe shows in August and was musical director of Pick Me Up's recent highly successful production of My Fair Lady.

Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story  was originally produced in New York City by Jim Kierstead. The Off-Broadway production was by The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director).

Sam Hird and George Stagnell recreate a courtroom photo of the "thrill killers" Leopold and Loeb. Photo by Matthew Kitchen.

Pictures by Matthew Kitchen Photography

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