How the Bonnie & Clyde Collaborators Took Aim at a Legendary Story

By Harry Haun
11 Dec 2011

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan in Bonnie & Clyde.
photo by Nathan Johnson
This childhood foreshadowing gives the show a definite (defining, even) edge, as Calhoun sees it. "If you meet them at 20, you don't really have a lot of sympathy for them. How do we get the audience to understand and sympathize with these two sociopaths? You present them as children, as innocent kids, before they turn bad.

"We're priding ourselves on being the most authentic telling of the story to date. Of course, we take theatrical license, but Ivan's research is based on the words of the people of the time — through interviews or biographies and autobiographies."

Appropriately, Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes kinda "broke out" of hits to take on these title roles — he in Calhoun's Newsies at the Paper Mill Playhouse, she as the innocent ingénue in Anything Goes at the Sondheim — while Claybourne Elder and Melissa van der Schyff round out the gang as Buck and Blanche Barrow. Jordan joined the company last November at Sarasota's Asolo Rep, but the other three began their bank-robbing a year earlier at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse.

Osnes, for one, finds it refreshing to work the other side of the law: "I've always been the ingénue. Now I get to get down and dirty and carry a gun. I never shot a gun before this, so in La Jolla the Barrow Gang went to a shooting range, and I shot a gun. Jeremy never had, either, so we went again in Florida. Y'know — character research."

View highlights from the show: