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Jye Frasca On ... Playing Infamous Killer Nathan Leopold

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Based on the shocking true story of Chicago killers Leopold and Loeb Stephen Dolginoff's Thrill Me opened on 7 April (previews from 5 April) for a limited run to 30 April.

Starring George Maguire and Jye Frasca the musical follows two wealthy college kids whose obsessive relationship and murder of a young boy is explored through Leopold's 1958 parole hearing.

Dolginoff's score won the ASCAP Music Award when produced in 2005 in New York, it now comes to the Tristan Bates Theatre directed by Guy Retallack (Drowning on Dry Land) with musical direction by David Keefe, design by James Turner and lighting by Richard Williamson.

Jye Frasca tells us about making the move from playing Joe Pesci in the West End production of Jersey Boys to a cold-blooded killer.

I’m Jye Frasca and I have been one lucky guy living my dream, as an actor in London's West End! Having recently completed three amazing years in Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre, where I created the role of Joe Pesci and had the privilege of playing Frankie Valli on numerous occasions. I had the most brilliant opportunity recounting his wonderful life story and singing all of those superb Four Seasons hits!

Currently I'm performing in Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, playing a law student, the infamous Nathan Leopold, who takes his obsession for his best friend way too far. Thrill Me is a two handed musical drama, set against the backdrop of 1920's murderous Chicago. The show recounts the chilling true story of the legendary duo who committed one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century. Nathan Leopold’s character relays the story through a series of retrospective flashbacks during his 1958 parole hearing. It is very exciting as an actor to play a part that is so far removed from anything I have ever done on stage before and I’m loving every second.

I have always been fortunate to feel a connection and see elements of myself in the roles I have played throughout my career to date. For instance, Boq the little guy with the big heart in Wicked, Pepper the cheeky chappy in Mamma Mia, A-rab the tough nut street kid in West Side Story, or diving into the magical worlds of Cats and Mary Poppins and getting to tap dance my way through Anything Goes. I really felt a deep connection to both parts I played in Jersey Boys; the over enthusiastic coupled with a dry sense of humour Joe Pesci or the deep thinking and huge hearted Frankie Valli that was seemingly most at peace when he was in the spotlight. Also the challenge in Jersey Boys of portraying two worldwide legends is something you feel as the actor you have to get absolutely right, not only for yourself and the audience but more so for the real Joe and Frankie!

Nathan is such a wonderful character to play in Thrill Me because once again I am portraying a real person rather than a fictional creation. I did a lot of research together with my brilliant and generous director Guy Retallack, which enabled us to really delve deeply into the complexities of Nathan's personality and the events that unfold between him and Richard Loeb. Creating the part here in London has been such a joy and it has been an absolute privilege to work alongside the extremely talented George Maguire who plays Richard Loeb, for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. The show really is a thriller, it has a score brilliantly played on a single piano by our musical director David Keefe that pulsates under the emotional struggles of the characters and excitingly erupts at all the dramatic high points.

Come see us at the Tristan Bates Theatre we promise to Thrill You!

Thrill Me opened at the Tristan Bates Theatre on 7 April (previews 5 April 2011) where it continues until 30 April 2011.


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