Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie & Clyde Musical, Revised Since CA Run, Opens in Florida

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
19 Nov 2010

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan
Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan
Photo by Frank Atura

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan are the title renegades of the Florida engagement of the new musical Bonnie & Clyde, opening Nov. 19 following the Nov. 12 start of performances at Asolo Repertory Theatre's mainstage Mertz Theatre in Sarasota, FL.

This next regional step of the Broadway-aimed musical by Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell plays to Dec. 19. The company of 20 includes some members from the 2009 La Jolla Playhouse engagement in California. The creative team has revised the script, score and staging since 2009, when Osnes and Stark Sands played the title characters.

The story of the real-life Depression-era American criminal couple has a book by Menchell (The Cemetery Club, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang); music by Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and the coming Broadway musical Wonderland); lyrics by Tony Award winner Don Black (Sunset Boulevard, Song and Dance); and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by John McDaniel.

Direction and musical staging are by Jeff Calhoun (Deaf West's Big River and Pippin, Broadway's Grease!).

As previously reported, composer Wildhorn flirts with rockabilly, blues and gospel to tell the tale of a waitress and a troubled Texas teen whose notorious exploits captured the country’s imagination. Osnes originated the role of Bonnie Parker in the world premiere at La Jolla, and won a San Diego Theater Critics Circle Award for her performance. She recently starred as Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center's Broadway revival of South Pacific and made her Broadway debut as Sandy in Grease!, after winning the role on NBC's reality competition series "Grease: You're The One That I Want."



Jordan takes the role of Clyde Barrow following his Broadway performances in the revival of West Side Story (Tony) and Rock of Ages.

Osnes and Jordan are joined by Melissa van der Schyff (Deaf West’s Big River) as Blanche Barrow, Mimi Bessette (Little Shop of Horrors) as Emma Parker, Kevin Massey as Ted Hinton, Claybourne Elder as Buck Barrow, Wayne Duvall as the Sheriff, Leslie Becker as Cumie Barrow/Governor Ferguson, Zach Rand (Les Misérables and Mary Poppins) as Young Clyde, Kelsey Fowler (Mary Poppins) as Young Bonnie. Ensemble members include Daniel Cooney, FSU/Asolo Conservatory MFA student Dane Dandridge, Victor Hernandez, Laura Hodos, Heather Kopp, Michael Lanning, Kevin Rose, Casey Shea and Tim Shew; and local performer Holly Rizzo as the Young Bonnie understudy.

Director Calhoun said in a statement, "This may be the most true-to-life account of their story to date. Ivan's book is based on the factual accounts of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, their lives and circumstances, and their own words. Frank has written songs with beautiful melodies reminiscent of the times but with a current appeal. Don's lyrics speak to the heart of the piece and the emotion. I have tried to take all that and create a show that's as truthful as it is entertaining."

Menchell said, "We learned a great deal from the La Jolla production. That show was an intimate look at a fractured love story. But audiences and critics wanted to know more about Bonnie and Clyde. What made them who they were? We also needed a more dynamic point of view. Working with [Asolo Rep artistic director] Michael Donald Edwards, we discovered that the next step was to involve adding a new layer to the story — social context — to help us better understand why these two kids ended up on the path they did. And so a new point of view (and song) were born: 'Made in America.'"

The Bonnie & Clyde production team includes Tobin Ost (scenic and costume designer); Michael Gilliam (lighting designer); Kevin Kennedy (sound designer); Aaron Rhyne (projection designer); Carol Doran (wig and hair designer); Steven Landau (music director/keyboards); Coy Middlebrook (associate director), Patricia Delorey (vocal coach); Steve Rankin (fight director); Paul J. Smith (production stage manager); Kelly Borgia (stage Manager); and Jeff Tanski (associate music director).

Tickets ($17-$65) are on sale now at the box office, by calling (941) 351-8000, (800) 361- 8388 or visiting www.AsoloRep.org.