Bonnie & Clyde (musical)
|Bonnie & Clyde|
Original Broadway poster
|Basis||The lives of Bonnie and Clyde|
|Productions||2009 La Jolla, California
2010 Sarasota, Florida
2011 Tokyo, Japan
Bonnie & Clyde is a musical with music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and a book by Ivan Menchell. The world premiere took place in La Jolla, California in November 2009. The musical centers on Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the ill-fated lovers and outlaws whose story has been infamous since they achieved folk hero status during the Great Depression. Wildhorn described the music as a "non-traditional score, combining rockabilly, blues and gospel music". The La Jolla run was followed by a Sarasota, Florida engagement in 2010. The musical debuted on Broadway on December 1, 2011, and despite positive audience reception, it failed to impress the critics and achieve good ticket sales, closing after just 4 weeks. It was nominated for 3 Outer Critics Circle Awards and 5 Drama Desk Awards, both including Best New Musical, as well as two nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards.
Previously, Black and Wildhorn collaborated on Dracula, the Musical, which also had its world premiere in La Jolla. Wildhorn got in touch with Black about the possibility of writing a song cycle based on the story of Bonnie and Clyde. They released a 13-track demo recording (5 of which are still in the present musical but altered considerably) for Atlantic Records with Michael Lanning, Rob Evan, Brandi Burkhardt and Linda Eder sharing the principal roles. The music contains elements of country and western, Blues and Broadway pop. In February 2009, the show held an industry-only reading at Roundabout Theatre Company, starring Laura Osnes as Bonnie and Stark Sands as Clyde.
All three North American productions were under the direction of Jeff Calhoun.
Bonnie & Clyde - Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes
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- La Jolla (2009)
The musical had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California beginning in previews November 10, 2009. Opening night was November 22. The run concluded December 20, after 15 previews and 33 regular performances. Calhoun was also the choreographer, with John McDaniel as music director and orchestrator. Osnes and Sands starred, along with Melissa van der Schyff as Blanche and Claybourne Elder as Buck. It won five major San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards in 2009.
- Sarasota (2010)
The next production began previews November 12, 2010 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, before opening November 19. It ran for 8 previews and 36 regular performances through December 19, with Osnes being joined by Jeremy Jordan as Clyde. The production's artistic director Michael Edwards stated, "How it goes here, will determine whether it goes to Broadway".
- Tokyo (2011-)
- Broadway (2011)
The success of the Florida production led to the show's Broadway debut. Previews began on November 4, 2011, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with the official opening on December 1, 2011, following the 33 previews. Osnes and Jordan reprised their roles. It received generally positive word of mouth, but ticket sales were slow, and producers announced on December 16, 2011, that the show would close on December 30. Originally planned as an open-ended run, it played just 36 regular performances. In a January 2, 2012 statement, director Calhoun said that he had "never had a show close while it was still playing to audiences like a hit".
- Act I
("Prologue"). In Depression-era West Texas, Bonnie is a 23 year-old diner waitress who dreams of a life in the movies ("Picture Show"). Clyde Barrow, who has just broken out of prison with his brother Buck, discovers Bonnie on the side of the road and a connection is made between the two dreamers as he repairs her car in exchange for a lift into Dallas ("This World Will Remember Me"). Meanwhile, Blanche Barrow urges her husband, Buck, to turn himself in and set things right with the Lord and with the law ("You're Goin Back to Jail").
Bonnie & Clyde - Melissa van der Schyff and Laura Osnes
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Bonnie ends up spending the whole day, and several thereafter, with Clyde. She tells him of her grand plans: to be an actress, a poet and a singer. Clyde convinces her to sing him a song ("How 'Bout a Dance?") and assures her that together they'll make both their dreams - his of a life without having to worry about money, hers of fame - come true. The two go to visit Buck. Clyde is overjoyed to see his brother again and they talk of driving away from Dallas in the latest Ford, which is said to be able to go 60 miles per hour ("When I Drive"). However, when Clyde hears of Buck's plan to turn himself in and complete his sentence, he's strongly opposed to the idea and leaves angrily.
However, Clyde is eventually caught by Ted and the other authorities ("You Can Do Better Than Him"), while Buck turns himself in ("God's Arms Are Always Open"). Bonnie professes her love for Clyde ("You Love Who You Love") as Blanche does the same for Buck. Buck is released quickly, while Clyde receives a much harsher jail sentence, and then faces a difficult time of continuous physical and sexual assault while in prison. At the peak of his abuse, Clyde turns to a makeshift weapon and performs his first murder ("Raise a Little Hell"). He convinces Bonnie to smuggle a gun into his cell, and Clyde again breaks out of prison, this time killing a deputy ("This World Will Remember Us").
- Act II
Bonnie and Clyde begin a life of crime, robbing stores and traveling all around to avoid being caught ("Made in America"). During a grocery store robbery gone wrong, Clyde shoots a deputy who was, in his words: 'trying to be a hero'. When she hears that Clyde has gone from robbery to murder, a frenzied Bonnie wants out ("Too Late to Turn Back Now") but realizes that she's too far from what she's known to go back. In part due to the grocery store shooting, the two achieve folk hero status throughout the country, with officers in every Southern state on the hunt for them. Clyde sends occasional letters to Buck and Blanche, telling them of the adventures and opportunities they've made on the road. Buck begins to see that there is more for them out there than can be found in their current situation, and he unsuccessfully tries to convince Blanche that they should join Clyde and Bonnie ("That's What You Call a Dream").
The infamous duo, meanwhile, continue on their robbery spree, growing increasingly bold in their endeavors ("What Was Good Enough for You") and graduating from stores to banks. In the midst of an unsuccessful bank robbery, Clyde is shot in the shoulder. Upon hearing of his brother's injury, Buck leaves home - and his wife, who's torn between her love for her husband and what she knows is right - to help Clyde. In the hideout, Clyde and Bonnie share a tender moment ("Bonnie") before being interrupted by Buck at the door. He's with a reluctant Blanche; her love for her husband won out in the end. Days later, Bonnie and Blanche nervously await the return of Clyde and Buck from a robbery, as Blanche questions how Bonnie can happily live the way they do. Bonnie replies that she and Clyde are the only ones truly living life to the fullest ("Dyin' Ain't So Bad"). Buck and Clyde return, with their respective partners elated to see them, but the celebration is short-lived as they learn that they've been followed by the authorities to the hideout. A shootout ensues, in which Buck is mortally wounded. Clyde quickly whisks Bonnie away, but a heartbroken Blanche stays with Buck until his dying breath and is arrested for aiding and abetting ("God's Arms Are Always Open (reprise)"). Ted reports back to the Sheriff (having been told by Bonnie's mother of Bonnie and Clyde's whereabouts) and they prepare to ambush the couple. A guilty Ted convinces himself he is doing the right thing ("You Can Do Better Than Him (reprise)").
In the woods on the way back to Dallas, Clyde wonders how his family will even be able to look at him after what he's done to Buck ("Picture Show (reprise)"). Bonnie assures him that it wasn't his fault, but both realize that they're nearing the end of their fateful journey ("Dyin' Ain't So Bad (reprise)" / "How 'Bout a Dance? (reprise)"). On May 23, 1934, on a rural Louisianan road, Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed and killed by police on the way to meet their parents.
†Not on the Original Broadway Cast Recording.
- Below are the cast members of all three North American productions of the musical to date.
|Role||La Jolla (2009)||Sarasota (2010)||Broadway (2011)|
|Bonnie Parker||Laura Osnes|
|Clyde Barrow||Stark Sands||Jeremy Jordan|
|Blanche Barrow||Melissa van der Schyff|
|Buck Barrow||Claybourne Elder|
|Ted Hinton||Chris Peluso||Kevin Massey||Louis Hobson|
|Sheriff Schmid||Wayne Duvall||Joe Hart|
|Young Clyde||Zach Rand||Talon Ackerman|
|Young Bonnie||Kelsey Fowler|
|Emma Parker||Mare Winningham||Mimi Bessette|
|Cumie Barrow||Leslie Becker|
|Henry Barrow||Victor Hernandez|
- La Jolla
The Los Angeles Times review complimented the leads, saying that Osnes "effectively works the red-headed moll temptress angle while Stark Sands' Clyde flaunts his ripped torso as often as possible. And both possess sharp musical instincts". The Wildhorn score "is undeniably impressive". Although it notes that "stylistically, the work seems beholden to conventional forms yet curious about modern breakthroughs... what is motivating the retelling of this story?"
"Bonnie & Clyde opened Friday at the Asolo Repertory Theatre with a bang—actually quite a few deadly bangs—and by night's end proved worthy of all the buzz it has created...On balance, though, Bonnie & Clyde has all the markings of a musical bound for success on the Great White Way and should be mandatory viewing for all local theater enthusiasts". - Wade Tatangelo, Brandenton.com.
"There is much to recommend in this show about the two fame-obsessed Texas outlaws in the early 1930s. It boasts two star-making performances by Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes in the title roles, smooth and action-packed staging by Jeff Calhoun, an impressive set that also displays historic videos and photos, and a tune-filled score by Frank Wildhorn and lyricist Don Black". - Jay Handelman, Herald Tribune.
The opening night gained mixed to negative reviews. The cast and crew, as well as many of the production's supporters, expressed that they felt the critics had been biased due to Wildhorn's previous Broadway track record.
An original Broadway cast album featuring all 20 musical numbers and a bonus track (the song "This Has Never Happened Before", which was cut during the show's early stages), was recorded on January 2, 2012 and released on April 24.
Awards and nominations
|2012||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Laura Osnes||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Frank Wildhorn and Don Black||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Melissa van der Schyff||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music||Frank Wildhorn||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lyrics||Don Black||Nominated|
- Jones, Kenneth."Osnes and Sands Are La Jolla's Bonnie & Clyde; Winningham and Van der Schyff Also Cast," playbill.com, July 13, 2009
- Bonnie & Clyde Demo Cast album castalbumcollector.com, retrieved January 5, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth.Stark Sands and Laura Osnes Are Bonnie and Clyde in NYC Reading of Wildhorn Musical," playbill.com, February 4, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth."Osnes and Sands Are Shooting Stars of 'Bonnie & Clyde, the Musical', Opening in CA" playbill.com, November 22, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth."Frank Wildhorn's 'Bonnie & Clyde' Musical, Revised Since CA Run, Opens in Florida" playbill.com, November 19, 2010
- Tatangelo, Wade."'Bonnie & Clyde' to hit Sarasota stage with guns blazing" bradenton.com, November 7, 2010
- "Laura Osnes & Jeremy Jordan Are Singin' and Shootin' in Bonnie & Clyde, Opening on Broadway Dec. 1". Playbill.com. December 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- Heller, Scott (December 16, 2011). "Bonnie & Clyde Will Close on Dec. 30". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- Gerard, Jeremy (December 3, 2011). "‘Bonnie and Clyde' Makes Folk Heroes of Killers: Jeremy Gerard". Bloomberg.
- Bonnie and Clyde newjerseynewsroom.com
- "Theater Review" therepublic.com
- Teachout, Terry."Wheel This Barrow Out of Town"The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2011
- Haagensen, Erik."'Bonnie & Clyde' at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater" Backstage, December 1, 2011
- "Theater review: 'Bonnie & Clyde' at La Jolla Playhouse". Los Angeles Times. November 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- "REVIEW: ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ lives up to Broadway hype". Brandenton.com. November 21, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- "REVIEW: Impressive ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ sings but needs tweaking". November 20, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- Brantley, Ben."Theater Review. Armed and Amorous, Committing Cold-Blooded Musical" The New York Times, December 1, 2011
- "Broadway Videos | Interviews, Reviews, and Popular Channels Word of Mouth Review: Bonnie & Clyde | Videos". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
- Official Bonnie & Clyde Broadway website
- Bonnie & Clyde at Broadway's Best Shows
- Internet Broadway Database listing
- "'Bonnie & Clyde', LaJolla Playhouse
- Bonnie and Clyde at the Asolo Repertory Theater, Sarasota
- Frank Wildhorn page on Bonnie & Clyde: A New Musical