Theater Preview: "Bonnie and Clyde"
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Frank Wildhorn ("Jekyll and Hyde," "The Scarlet Pimpernel") has a new musical premiering on Broadway this fall, based on the lives of Depression-era criminals Bonnie and Clyde. The pair has been romanticized many times, most notably in the 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The musical, which premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 2009 before playing at the Asolo Rep in Florida, will open Dec. 1 at the Schoenfeld Theatre.
The preview starts off with an excerpt from "The World Will Remember Us," an incredibly catchy and charming duet between the title characters, played by Jeremy Jordan ("Newsies" at Paper Mill, "West Side Story") and Laura Osnes ("Grease," "Anything Goes"), respectively. Jordan and Osnes' voices fit together like two puzzle pieces, and the song is very fun to listen to.
Next up is "How 'Bout a Dance," a ballad by Osnes, who brings enough energy to the song to keep it from dragging on. However, the next song, "You Love Who You Love," feels a bit drawn out, but this is probably more of a fault with the song itself than with the performers. It comes off as endlessly repeating the same idea, rather than furthering a point. While the song appears to be a duet between Clyde's sister-in-law, Blanche Barrow (who was married to his brother, Buck) and Bonnie, it doesn't really go anywhere.
Things pick up considerably with "When I Drive," a high-spirited ode to cars and the automobile culture. Here, Clyde and Buck are celebrating everything they love about cars. While that sounds flippant, it does provide some insight into the couple's life of crime; after all, Clyde's first arrest (while he was still a teen) was for failing to return a rental car.
The expositionary look continues when we finally get to see a little dialogue leading into "Bonnie," Clyde's love song to his sweetheart. The song itself is kind of bland, but Jordan and Osnes are so adorable together that it doesn't really matter.
The last song is "Dying Ain't So Bad," an emotional song wherein (spoiler alert!) Bonnie and Clyde resign themselves to their fate. It's an incredibly powerful number, even under fluorescent lights and with the nattering click of camera shutters, so I can only imagine how much potential it has when it is fully staged.
The staging of the show should be quite interesting to see. Bonnie and Clyde's history is so dependent on cars and guns, two things that pose a lot of challenges when it's time to put them on stage. The preview obviously didn't incorporate either of those elements, as it took place in the rehearsal space, but hopefully the show will come to life on stage.
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