Flashback Friday: Why Broadway’s short-lived ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ should ride again

Jeremy Jordan as Clyde and Laura Osnes as Bonnie

Jeremy Jordan as Clyde and Laura Osnes as Bonnie

Some of the most compelling musicals are those that give real humanity to the bad guys.

So it was only a matter of time before the story of America’s most famous criminal couple was crafted into a captivating musical that gave its bad guy main characters some real depth and a bunch of catchy showtunes.

Bonnie & Clyde, with brilliant music and lyrics by Frank Wildhorn and Don Black, opened on Broadway in December 1, 2011 after successful out-of-town tryouts at La Jolla Playhouse in California and in Florida. Despite its previous success the musical closed later that month on December 30 after just thirty-six performances. With such a short run, it’s hard to believe that the show about real-life criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow has had such a lasting effect on musical theatre.

Wildhorn’s score is simultaneously refreshing and nostalgic and features soon-to-be-classic musical gems such as “How ‘bout a Dance,” “The World Will Remember Me” and “Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad.” The true beauty in the music is the lyrics’ ability to make Bonnie and Clyde – two felons famous for their spree of thefts and murders – sympathetic characters. The lyrics provide insight into the tragic story of the notorious couple who on the surface appear only as villains. Fully understood, these two west-Texas outlaws and lovers come to life as heroes of their own tragedy.

Osnes and Jordan in 'Bonnie & Clyde'

Osnes and Jordan in ‘Bonnie & Clyde’

Laura Osnes (now headlining on Broadway as the title character in Cinderella) and Jeremy Jordan (showing off on NBC’s Smash) starred as Bonnie and Clyde, respectively, on Broadway. The couple’s undeniable chemistry was a huge boon for the show. From their first meeting to their final ballad it was easy to believe that these two were a perfect match for both their characters and each other. Their vocals are the stand-outs of the show and put the raw emotion of the lyrics front and center.

Although it proved to be a failure among Broadway critics, Bonnie & Clyde has become a favorite short-lived musical among theatre fans. Hopefully, a revival will put these star-crossed criminals back together again on a Broadway stage where they belong.

Clyde serenades Bonnie

Clyde serenades his Bonnie in a bathtub

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Subscribe to Comments RSS Feed in this post

One Response

  1. Ugh. Yes yes yes!!!!!