Never the Sinner

The 1924 Chicago murder trial of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. is brought vividly to life in a classy revival of 1985's "Never the Sinner" by two Washington, D.C.-area theaters, Arlington, Va.'s Signature Theater and Columbia, Md.'s, Rep Stage. Since its attention-getting debut 12 years ago, John Logan's play has gone largely unproduced, but in an era thirsty for worthwhile drama, "Never the Sinner" more than fills the bill. It might not see a better production than this one.

With:
Cast: Jason Patrick Bowcutt (Leopold), Michael Solomon (Loeb), James J. Lawless (Darrow), Glen Pannell (Crowe), Bruce Nelson (reporter), Michelle Shupe (reporter), Howard W. Overshown (reporter).

In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. By contrast, Michael Solomon’s Loeb is a cocky lout, eager to seduce for his selfish and whimsical pursuits. An unremorseful thrill- seeker ready for a dare, he needs no real motive to abduct young Bobby Franks and beat him to death.

James J. Lawless is equally convincing as attorney Clarence Darrow, flamboyant and passionate in his courtroom theatrics while profound in disgust over his two unrepentant clients. Ditto Glenn Pannell as the earnest prosecutor. Combined, the four offer an intelligent interpretation of Logan’s succinct and thought-provoking material.

The script leaps back and forth between courtroom proceedings and the crime. Ethan McSweeny’s staging capitalizes on the opportunities offered by the Signature’s intimate space and Lou Stancari’s fascinating set is crucial to the delightfully intense plot.

Never the Sinner

Opened, reviewed Aug. 25, 1997, at the Signature Theater, Arlington, Va.; 126 seats; $25 top.

Production: ARLINGTON, VA. A Signature Theater and Rep Stage presentation of a play in two acts by John Logan. Directed by Ethan McSweeny. Sets, Lou Stancari; lighting, Jeff Hill;

Creative: costumes, Heidi Alexander; sound, David Maddox; production stage manager, Lori Monnier. Running time: 2 HOURS, 8 MIN.

Cast: Cast: Jason Patrick Bowcutt (Leopold), Michael Solomon (Loeb), James J. Lawless (Darrow), Glen Pannell (Crowe), Bruce Nelson (reporter), Michelle Shupe (reporter), Howard W. Overshown (reporter).

More Legit

  • Keegan-Michael Key

    Stagecraft Podcast: Why Keegan-Michael Key Craves the Green Lights

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

  • RWS Entertainment Group Marquee Holland America

    RWS Entertainment Launches Theatrical Development Department (EXCLUSIVE)

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

  • John Lithgow Stories By Heart

    Broadway Review: 'John Lithgow: Stories by Heart'

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Lin-Manuel Miranda to Receive Monte Cristo Award (EXCLUSIVE)

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

  • Allan-Corduner Murder on the Orient Express

    'Crazy,' 'Murder' and More on Playwright Ken Ludwig's Packed Plate

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

  • Stephen Adly Guirgis

    Stagecraft Podcast: Stephen Adly Guirgis Talks Writing, Acting and 'The Get Down'

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

  • Mankind review

    Off Broadway Review: Speculative Satire 'Mankind'

    In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content