Bonnie & Clyde (musical)

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Bonnie & Clyde
Original Broadway poster
MusicFrank Wildhorn
LyricsDon Black
BookIvan Menchell
BasisThe lives of Bonnie and Clyde
Productions2009 La Jolla Playhouse
2010 Sarasota
2011 Tokyo
2011 Broadway
2013 Seoul
2014 St. Louis
2016 Prague
2017 Off West End

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".[1] The La Jolla run was followed by a Sarasota, Florida engagement in 2010.

The musical debuted on Broadway in December 2011, where it failed to impress the critics. Ticket sales were poor, and it closed after just four 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. Subsequent productions have since been staged internationally following the submission of the work to Music Theater International, including productions in Japan, Korea and the U.K.


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.[2] In February 2009, the show held an industry-only reading at Roundabout Theatre Company, starring Laura Osnes as Bonnie and Stark Sands as Clyde.[3]

Production history[edit]

La Jolla (2009)[edit]

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. Jeff Calhoun helmed and choreographed the production that starred Osnes and Sands, along with Melissa van der Schyff as Blanche and Claybourne Elder as Buck.[4] It won five major San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards in 2009.

Sarasota (2010)[edit]

Due to a positive response from the La Jolla run, the show announced a return engagement for the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Previews began November 12, 2010, before a November 19 opening. It ran for 8 previews and 36 regular performances through December 19, with Osnes being joined by Jeremy Jordan as Clyde.[5] The production's artistic director Michael Edwards stated, "How it goes here, will determine whether it goes to Broadway".[6]

Broadway (2011)[edit]

The success of the Florida production led to the show's Broadway debut in New York City. 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.[7] 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.[8] On 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".[9][10][11][12][13]

International and amateur productions[edit]

Czech actors Jitka Schneiderová, Markéta Procházková and Václav Noid Bárta as Blanche, Bonnie and Clyde in Prague production (2016)


Broadway production[edit]

Act I

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow sit in a car, dead. ("Prologue"). In Depression-era West Texas, Bonnie is a 20-year-old diner waitress who dreams of a life in the movies. Young Bonnie is also onstage singing about the dream. Young Clyde sings about his dream to become a criminal, similar to Billy the Kid and Al Capone. ("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 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, while Buck turns himself in ("God's Arms Are Always Open"). In the jailhouse, Ted and Clyde reflect on their love for Bonnie ("You Can Do Better Than Him"). 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 ("Raise A Little Hell (Reprise")), 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.

Musical numbers[edit]

Broadway production[edit]

†Not on the Original Broadway Cast Recording.


  • Below are the principal cast members of all major productions of Bonnie & Clyde to date.
Role La Jolla (2009) Sarasota (2010) Broadway (2011) Japan Tour (2011) Seoul (2013) Plzeň (2016) Prague (2016)[15]
Bonnie Parker Laura Osnes Megumi Hamada Kahi /
Lisa /
Ahn Yoo-jin /
Petra Vraspírová /
Karolina Gudasová
Dasha /
Markéta Procházková
Clyde Barrow Stark Sands Jeremy Jordan Mario Tashiro Um Ki-joon /
Key /
Park Hyung-sik /
Han Ji-sang /
Jang Hyun-seung
Pavel Režný /
Roman Tomeš
Václav Noid Bárta /
Martin Písařík
Blanche Barrow Melissa van der Schyff Yuri Shirahane Ju-A Soňa Hanzlíčková Borková /
Kateřina Falcová
Jitka Schneiderová /
Barbora Skočdopolová
Buck Barrow Claybourne Elder Koki Okada Lee Jeong-youl /
Kim Min-jong
Adam Rezner /
Richard Pekárek
Martin Písařík /
Tomáš Vaněk
Ted Hinton Chris Peluso Kevin Massey Louis Hobson Masaaki Fujioka /
Masataka Nakagauchi
Kim Pub-rae /
Kim Hyeong-gyun /
Park Jin-woo
Ondřej Černý /
Petr Ryšavý
David Kraus /
Lukáš Kumpricht
Preacher Michael Lanning Hiro Tsunoda Lukáš Ondruš Bohouš Josef /
Kamil Střihavka
Sheriff Schmid Wayne Duvall Joe Hart Katsumi Kiba Radek Antonín Shejbal Vladislav Beneš /
Martin Zahálka
Young Clyde Zach Rand Talon Ackerman Filip Antonio /
Josef Fečo /
Matouš Klíma
Young Bonnie Kelsey Fowler Viktorie Tandlerová Dominika Mina Elischerová /
Natálie Grossová /
Natálie Němcová
Emma Parker Mare Winningham Mimi Bessette Yukiko Ikeda Venuše Zaoralová Dvořáková Miroslava Pleštilová /
Ilona Svobodová

Critical response[edit]


La Jolla[edit]

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?"[16]


"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,[17]
"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.[18]


The opening night received mixed to negative reviews.[19] Roma Torre of NY 1 commented that the show "has many virtues but also enough flaws to keep it from blowing you away"[20], while Thom Geir of Entertainment Weekly criticizes the show, claiming it "aims for kiss-kiss-bang-bang, but too often it's just firing blanks".[21] However, the two lead performers, Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes, received generally good reviews for their performances, with critic Ben Brantley of The New York Times stating that Jordan "exudes a naturally intense presence, and he works hard at making Clyde seem both wholesome and menacing"[22] and that "Ms. Osnes is a lovely young woman of fashion-model proportions and an instinctive, accessible elegance that reads Ingénue"[23]. 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.[24]


An original Broadway cast album featuring all 20 musical numbers and a bonus track (the song "This Never Happened Before", which was cut during the show's early stages), was recorded on January 2, 2012 and released on April 24.[25]

Selected songs from the musical were given jazz re-arrangements for a live performance by the Broadway cast at Feinstein's/54 Below; the recording was released on June 6, 2016 as the album Frank Wildhorn and Friends: Bonnie & Clyde and a Whole Lotta Jazz.[26]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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


  1. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Osnes and Sands Are La Jolla's Bonnie & Clyde; Winningham and Van der Schyff Also Cast," Archived July 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, July 13, 2009
  2. ^ Bonnie & Clyde Demo Cast album, retrieved January 5, 2010
  3. ^ Jones, Kenneth.Stark Sands and Laura Osnes Are Bonnie and Clyde in NYC Reading of Wildhorn Musical," Archived May 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, February 4, 2009
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Osnes and Sands Are Shooting Stars of 'Bonnie & Clyde, the Musical', Opening in CA", November 22, 2009
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Frank Wildhorn's 'Bonnie & Clyde' Musical, Revised Since CA Run, Opens in Florida" Archived November 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, November 19, 2010
  6. ^ Tatangelo, Wade."'Bonnie & Clyde' to hit Sarasota stage with guns blazing" Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine, November 7, 2010
  7. ^ "Laura Osnes & Jeremy Jordan Are Singin' and Shootin' in Bonnie & Clyde, Opening on Broadway Dec. 1". December 1, 2011. Archived from the original on December 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  8. ^ Heller, Scott (December 16, 2011). "Bonnie & Clyde Will Close on Dec. 30". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
  9. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (December 3, 2011). "'Bonnie and Clyde' Makes Folk Heroes of Killers: Jeremy Gerard". Bloomberg.
  10. ^ Bonnie and Clyde Archived December 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Theater Review"[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Teachout, Terry."Wheel This Barrow Out of Town"The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2011
  13. ^ Haagensen, Erik."'Bonnie & Clyde' at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater" Backstage, December 1, 2011
  14. ^
  15. ^ Hudební divadlo Karlín – Repertoár – Bonnie & Clyde (in Czech)
  16. ^ "Theater review: 'Bonnie & Clyde' at La Jolla Playhouse". Los Angeles Times. November 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  17. ^ "REVIEW: 'Bonnie & Clyde' lives up to Broadway hype". November 21, 2010. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  18. ^ "REVIEW: Impressive 'Bonnie & Clyde' sings but needs tweaking". November 20, 2010. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  19. ^ Brantley, Ben."Theater Review. Armed and Amorous, Committing Cold-Blooded Musical" The New York Times, December 1, 2011
  20. ^ Coverage, BWW Special. "Review Roundup: BONNIE & CLYDE on Broadway - All the Reviews!". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  21. ^ Coverage, BWW Special. "Review Roundup: BONNIE & CLYDE on Broadway - All the Reviews!". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  22. ^ Brantley, Ben (2011-12-01). "'Bonnie & Clyde,' With Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  23. ^ Brantley, Ben (2011-12-01). "'Bonnie & Clyde,' With Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  24. ^ "Theater Review: Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical". Vulture. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  25. ^ Gans, Andrew (December 22, 2011). "Broadway's Bonnie & Clyde Will Live On in Cast Recording". Playbill. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  26. ^ Hetrick, Adam (April 14, 2016). "Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes Featured on Frank Wildhorn Live Album". Playbill. Retrieved 25 May 2019.

External links[edit]