The University of Wisconsin-Marathon County Theatre presents John Logan’s "Never the Sinner," theatrical consideration of the 1924 murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks, by Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold. The play runs March 16, 17 and 18, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 19, 2 p.m., at UWMC’s James F. Veninga Theater, 625 Stewart Ave., Wausau.
The production features UWMC students, including seasoned actors Jacob Beyer (Clarence Darrow) and Dylan Sleeper-Neumann (Richard Loeb). Beyer, a graduate of Merrill High School, has appeared as Richard Hannay in the UWMC Theatre production of The Thirty Nine Steps, King Henry in last spring’s Spamalot, Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Candy in Of Mice and Men. Neumann-Sleeper, a graduate of Shawano High School, has performed alongside Beyer, playing Bedevere, one of Henry’s spirited knights, and opposite him as a love interest in The Importance of Being Earnest, a role Beyer did in drag. Neumann-Sleeper and Beyer undertake a radically different relationship in Never The Sinner. The famed Clarence Darrow mounted the defense for Leopold and Loeb. Rather than attempt to prove them innocent of a crime he knew they committed, he fought to save them from the death penalty. His 12-hour closing argument continues to stand as one of the most eloquent arguments against the death penalty. He does not condone the senseless murder committed by his clients but urges the judge to consider their youth (18 and 19 at the time of the crime) and factors that undermined their sense of right and wrong. Of the two defendants, Neumann-Sleeper’s character, Loeb, seems the more grandiose. As the case plays out, however, he reveals a naiveté and vulnerability he was unwilling to exhibit for Darrow. Beyer and Neumann-Sleeper will be transferring at the end of the semester, making their collaboration all the more meaningful.
Brandon Lobermeir plays Loeb and Issadore McCusker plays the prosecuting attorney. The witnesses, reporters and court personnel, who help tell story, are played by UWMC students taking on multiple roles. These students include Philip Blume, Patricia Rohling, Whitnie Cherek and Shianne Mueller.
For more information on the production, contact Sarah Rudolph, professor of communications and theatre arts, at 715-261-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.