Background: I guess there is no point in reviewing the ill-fated Frank Wildhorn musical, Bonnie & Clyde, which closed prematurely on 12/30/11 after just 36 regular performances. But I need to pay homage to this wonderful show that closed far too soon.
For some reason, I felt that Bonnie & Clyde would be running for a while and so I didn’t rush to see it right away. But when I heard that tickets were not being sold past 12/30/11, I decided to make Bonnie & Clyde a priority during my next planned trip to NYC. The day before I went to NYC, it was announced that Bonnie & Clyde would be closing on 12/30/11. Boo. I tried to get rush tickets on the morning of 12/17, but it seemed that many people had the same idea as I did, and the line was almost out the door of the box office. Needless to say, I did not get rush tickets, but I was able to get a discounted ticket just four rows from the stage.
Synopsis: Bonnie & Clyde chronicles the love story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, two infamous outlaws in the 1930’s. The story begins with Bonnie and Clyde as young children, reveals how the two met, fell in love, and endured hardships, and finally recounts their lives as outlaws. The show attempts to explain the title characters’ motives for choosing the paths that they did; Bonnie wanting to be a famous actress and yearning for excitement, and Clyde wanting to provide for Bonnie and his family in the way that he was never provided for. While the show is filled with action and special effects, it is also smart, witty, sexy, and above all, a love story.
Commentary: The cast of Bonnie & Clyde was exceptional. Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes had great chemistry together as the title characters, and were both VERY strong vocally. I expect that both will have long and prolific careers on the Broadway stage. Claybourne Elder and Melissa van der Schiff as Buck and Blanche also had great chemistry and provided some of the show’s more comical moments.
After seeing Melissa van der Schiff perform, I thought, ‘who is this girl and why haven’t I seen her perform before?’ Her performance as the God-fearing, desperate wife of Buck was strong and memorable to say the least. Not only was she funny, but she portrayed beautifully the range of emotions Blanche experiences as the story progresses and makes the character relatable for the audience. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
(Sidenote: It was also great to see Louis Hobson as Ted. He is so closely identified with Next to Normal after playing Dr. Madden/Fine for the entire Broadway run, and it was nice to see him in a very different role).
The best part of Bonnie & Clyde was the music. Even if you didn’t get a chance to see the show, go out and buy the cast recording when it is released. The music is catchy and memorable and I was definitely humming some of the melodies as I left the theatre. This show should have been a hit for composer Frank Wildhorn, a redemption of sorts after last year’s Wonderland. Frank Wildhorn stated in a recent interview on playbill.com that he writes “for the people” and he truly does. Bonnie & Clyde is filled with crowd-pleasing melodies. In the same interview, he also mentioned a possible national tour... my fingers are crossed that this will come to fruition. I know many people who would appreciate this musical and probably would have seen it had the show run longer. I found the show to be very “generic”, meaning there is something in it for everyone to enjoy.
Hope for a tour.
Buy the cast recording.
Never assume a show will be running for a while.