The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 25, 2014

MSU's Highland Theatre opens with grisly drama

'Rope' loosely based on story of Leopold, Loeb murder

MANKATO — The Minnesota State University Department of Theatre and Dance opens its 48th annual Highland Summer Theatre season on Tuesday with with Patrick Hamilton’s drama, “Rope.”

Performances will be held 7:30 p.m. nightly through Saturday in the Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The play is described thus in a press release: "For the mere sake of adventure, danger and fun, Wyndham Brandon persuades his weak-minded friend, Charles Granillo, to assist him in the murder of a fellow undergraduate, a perfectly harmless man named Ronald Raglan. They place the body in a wooden chest and to add spice to their handiwork, invite a few acquaintances, including the dead youth's father, to a party. The chest with its gruesome contents serves as a supper table."

The play is loosely based on the story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, a pair of highly intelligent and wealthy University of Chicago law students who murdered a 14-year-old boy chosen at random in 1924. The two were, according to accounts, motivated by a desire to commit the perfect crime. During the widely covered trial, only a spirited and articulate attack on capital punishment by famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow saved the two students from death.

Rope was written in 1929 and was the author's first theatrical success. The play had success in the West End and on Broadway. In 1948, Alfred Hitchcock famously adapted the play to the screen.

“Rope” is directed by faculty member Heather E. Hamilton and includes recent graduate Jake McInerney as Brandon and junior Jake Sullivan as Granillo.

Individual tickets for all summer shows are on sale at the Theatre & Dance Box Office, located in the lobby of the Earley Center, and online at MSUTheatre.com. For more information, call 507-389-6661 between 4-6 p.m., Mondays-Fridays (except Memorial Day).

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