History will remember Caril Ann Fugate as either Charlie Starkweather's hostage or his willing accomplice on his multistate murder spree. Taylor Pietz's portrayal of Fugate in Kyle Jarrow's musical Love Kills offered a third possibility: Maybe she was an overwhelmed teenager who was both options at various times. Pietz played Fugate as a defiant juvenile delinquent, a lovesick young girl, an innocent swept up in a whirlwind of violence and a snarling hellcat bent on revenge for schoolyard slights, jumping between these emotional identities with the facility of a teenager. And then there was her voice, a soaring, spine-tingling instrument that grew ever stronger during her heartwrenching/mending performance of "Love Will Never Die," building to a peak that shattered with the intensity of a modern-day Isolde singing her liebestod. Pietz took a demanding role and rather than make it look easy, made it look exactly as difficult and confusing and draining as it should have.
© 2021 Riverfront Times