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Crime of the Century Explored in MCCC Theatre Program’s Production of ‘Never The Sinner’ at Studio Theatre Nov. 18 to 20


E. Lukas DiGiacomo, left, is Loeb and Patrick Martin is Leopold. Rupert Hinton makes a special appearance as defense attorney Clarence Darrow.

Foreground: Rupert Hinton, left, as defense lawyer Clarence Darrow and Max Tootleman as Robert Crowe, the state's attorney; middle row: Patrick Martin, left, as Leopold and E. Lukas DiGiacomo as Loeb; background: reporters, from left, Christan Ellis, Francisco Javier Estrada, Amy Annucci and Pierce Hittelman.

The reporters who feed the frenzy, from left, Christan Ellis, Francisco Javier, Estrada, Amy Annucci and Pierce Hittelman.

West Windsor, N.J. – It’s Chicago circa 1924 and the grisly murder of a 14-year-old boy has been discovered. Two handsome, wealthy college students are accused of the crime.

The Academic Theatre Program at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) presents John Logan’s provocative 1999 play, “Never the Sinner,” on Friday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.  The drama unfolds at MCCC’s Studio Theatre, located next to Kelsey Theatre, on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Billed as "The Trial of the Century" and fueled by a voracious press, the sensational case against Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb has remained a source of fascination almost 100 years later, perhaps because it possesses a host of riveting elements – seduction, deception and murder. Set in a courtroom with flashbacks that shed light on the men behind the crime, the play’s central questions loom large: How could two bright young men with promising futures commit a brutal crime as an intellectual exercise? Could the adventure of committing the murder truly trump their humanity?

​​Theatre Program Coordinator Jody Gazenbeek-Person cites multiple reasons for selecting “Never the Sinner” as one of two student productions this fall. The playwright, John Logan, is a contemporary playwright/screenwriter and the creator of the hit Showtime series “Penny Dreadful."

“I wanted our students to engage with post-modern literature.  At the same time, this play provides them an opportunity to work with historical figures instead of fictional characters, allowing them to do research on their characters. ‘Never the Sinner’ was the first famous ‘thrill kill’ and the first time that Freudian analysis entered the court room in a significant way,” he said.

Gazenbeek-Person points to similarities between “Never the Sinner” and Logan’s Showtime series. “If you have ever watched ‘Penny Dreadful,’ you will see a direct connection between the two shows. Logan writes consistently about the darker side of life.”

The show features Patrick Martin of Hamilton as Leopold; E. Lukas DiGiacomo of Lawrenceville as Loeb; and, in a special appearance, Rupert Hinton of Princeton as defense attorney Clarence Darrow. Max Tootleman of East Windsor is Robert Crowe, the state's attorney. The reporters are played by Amy Annucci of Ewing, Christan Ellis of Trenton, Francisco Javier Estrada of Lawrenceville, and Pierce Hittelman of Bordentown.

The show is directed by MCCC Theatre alumna Deena Jiles-Shu'aib, with choreography by Gazenbeek-Person.  Lighting and sound are by Entertainment Technology students.

Tickets are $18 for adults; $16 for seniors, and $14 for students/children, and may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. 

The focus shifts to dark comedy in December, when the Academic Theatre Program presents Samuel French’s “The Secretaries” Dec. 9 to 11, directed by Theatre Program alumna Nicole Erkoboni (also to be performed at the Studio Theatre). The director for the program’s Spring 2017 production of “Blood Wedding” is also an alumna of the Theatre Program. ("Blood Wedding" will be performed at Kelsey Theatre.)

More information about MCCC's Theatre/Dance program is available here.

For a complete listing of adult and children's events at Kelsey Theatre, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.

2016-17 Kelsey Schedule
Kelsey Theatre Website
Audition Information
Tomato Patch Workshops for Children and Teens

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