North Central College - Naperville, IL

The 1924 murder that shocked Chicago told in "Never the Sinner"

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John Logan's remarkable play "Never the Sinner" will be staged at North Central College April 22-25. The adult drama explores justice, mercy, the value of human life, callous criminal conduct, sexuality and other issues that remain part of public discourse.

Four shows will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 22, 23 and 24, and at 2 p.m. April 25, in the College's Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $10/adults and $8/senior citizens and students; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

In Logan's moving yet horrifying "Never the Sinner," we meet two infamous killers, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, and the mystic, mythic figure of Clarence Darrow who chooses to defend the two. It was called the "crime of the century," and Logan's play embarks on an early 1920s journey through the eyes of rich, handsome teenagers who, due to the mixing of their personalities and their boredom decide to kill someone for the experience of it. Darrow tells the judge that Leopold and Loeb were "much like all of us."

Directed by Carin Silkaitis, North Central's assistant professor of theatre, the play is cinematic and moves quickly through scenes. "Logan tells the story out of order, actually ending the play with Leopold and Loeb's first meeting," she says. "But I chose to direct this play because I find the story to be a fascinating look into the minds of these two young men who had every opportunity afforded them and chose to commit murder for the experience of it, all the while hiding behind the philosophy of Nietzsche. This production is a great acting challenge for our students, who play actual characters from history."

Logan, a Chicago playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, received the 1986 Joseph Jefferson Award Citation for New Work for "Never the Sinner" performed at Chicago's Stormfield Theatre. Logan was also nominated for two Oscars: Best Writing for Original Screenplay for "The Aviator," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Best Writing for a Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for "Gladiator," starring Russell Crowe.

The cast for "Never the Sinner" include:

Cast part: Student name, year, hometown and major
Leopold: David Musselman, a sophomore from Woodridge, majoring in musical theatre
Loeb: Curtis Stelter, a junior from Lemont, majoring in musical and performance theatre
Clarence Darrow: Bruce Reif, a senior from Springfield, Ill., majoring in performance theatre
Robert Crowe: Jake Dewar, a senior from Downers Grove, majoring in performance theatre
Germaine, Reporter 2 and several other characters: Andrea Larson, a senior from Stillman Valley, Ill., majoring in musical theatre
Reporter 1 and several other characters: Max DeTogne, a freshman from Arlington Heights, majoring in speech communication
Reporter 3 and several other characters: Tommy Rivera, a junior from Puerto Rico, majoring in musical theatre

North Central College offers majors in theatre performance, technical theatre or musical theater and minors in theatre or dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and non-musical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College's four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty. For more information about North Central College's theatre programs visit