Bonnie and Clyde

Boy meets girl on a deserted road in Depression-era West Dallas, and sooner than you can say "Warren Beatty," they're rolling in the hay -- or rather, the dust.

Bonnie Parker - Laura Osnes
Clyde Barrow - Jeremy Jordan
Buck Barrow - Claybourne Elder
Ted Hinton - Louis Hobson
Blanche Barrow - Melissa van der Schyff
Sheriff Schmid - Joe Hart

Boy meets girl on a deserted road in Depression-era West Dallas, and sooner than you can say “Warren Beatty,” they’re rolling in the hay — or rather, the dust. Seeing as how his name is Clyde and hers is Bonnie, the eventual outcome is no surprise here, and indeed the dead-end story trajectory grows burdensome, as does the fact that unschooled white-trash gunslingers generally aren’t loquacious enough to steal the spotlight. For all that, three exciting performances and a better-than-usual score from Frank Wildhorn combine to make this an arresting if problematic new musical.

If Wildhorn (“Jekyll and Hyde,” “Wonderland”) has heretofore been seen on Broadway as a pop-music interloper, “Bonnie and Clyde” should finally lay the notion to rest. The music more or less fits the material; there’s a lot of country twang and some extraneous matter, but the score has plenty to offer. Two of the songs are especially pleasing, a duet for the Barrow women called “You Love Who You Love,” and Bonnie’s big ballad (“Dyin’ ain’t so bad, not if you both go together”).

Popular on Variety

Shooting up the stage as Clyde is budding star-to-be Jeremy Jordan, who made a splash in September in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of “Newsies”; he comes out looking just as good here. Laura Osnes, who won a reality-show competition for the lead in the 2007 revival of “Grease” and recently played Hope in Roundabout’s “Anything Goes,” is especially winning as the poetry-writing Bonnie. (The authors decide that she wants to be not a gunslinger’s moll but a movie star, allowing them to write songs about Clara Bow — and to intercut projections of Bow and Al Capone.) Also giving a standout performance is Melissa van der Schyff, singing and acting commandingly as Clyde’s sister-in-law Blanche.

Nevertheless, there’s something ironic about the way Bonnie and Clyde here opine that the world will remember them, when in fact the performers, strong as they are here, are unlikely to erase the memory of Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Arthur Penn’s 1967 film classic. The element of sexual dysfunction in that version is absent here (although much is made of teenage Clyde having been brutalized in prison), as is a comparable level of dramaturgy: The lyrics by Don Black (whose credits include “Born Free” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of “Sunset Blvd.”) are merely functional and often peppered with cliches. TV scribe Ivan Menchell’s book also has its weaknesses; of the 19 actors in the cast, only five of them are given more than stick figures to play.

Helmer Jeff Calhoun (“Newsies”) does a creative job with the material, although he seems somewhat hemmed in by a deck consisting of numerous skewed platforms. Set by Tobin Ost (also a “Newsies” collaborator) makes for interesting visuals but crimps the staging and leaves no room for choreography.

Show has no fewer than 35 producers and associate producers listed above the title, which might not be a record but is indicative of tough fundraising. Among the budget items: a prodigious amount of spurting stage blood.

Bonnie and Clyde

Schoenfeld; 1,043 seats; $136.50 top

Production: A Kathleen Raitt, Jerry Frankel, Jeffrey Richards, Barry Satchwell Smith, Michael Jenkins, Howard Caplan, Bernie Abrams/Michael Speyer, Howard Kagan, Barry and Carole Kaye, Terry Schnuck, Nederlander Presentations, Corey Brunish/Brisa Trinchero, Alden Badway Podell/Broadway Consortium, Patty Baker, Bazinet and Company, Uniteus Entertainment, Ken Mahoney and Jeremy Scott Blaustein presentation of a musical in two acts with music by Frank Wildhorn; lyrics by Don Black; book by Ivan Menchell. Directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun. Music direction, Jason Howland.

Creative: Sets and costumes, Tobin Ost; lights, Michael Gilliam; sound, John Shivers; projections, Aaron Rhyne; music supervision/orchestrations/arrangements, John McDaniel; production stage manager, Paul J. Smith. Opened Dec. 1, 2011, reviewed Nov. 28. Running time: 2 HOURS, 20 MINS.

Cast: Bonnie Parker - Laura Osnes
Clyde Barrow - Jeremy Jordan
Buck Barrow - Claybourne Elder
Ted Hinton - Louis Hobson
Blanche Barrow - Melissa van der Schyff
Sheriff Schmid - Joe HartWith: Talon Ackerman, Leslie Becker, Mimi Bessette, Alison Cimmet, Dan Cooney, Jon Fletcher, Kelsey Fowler, Victor Hernandez, Michael Lanning, Garrett Long, Matt Lutz, Marissa McGowan, Tad Wilson Musical numbers: "Picture Show," "This World Will Remember Me," "You're Goin' Back To Jail," "How 'Bout a Dance," "When I Drive," "God's Arms Are Always Open," "You Can Do Better Than Him," "You Love Who You Love," "Raise a Little Hell," "This World Will Remember Us," "Made in America," "Too Late to Turn Back Now," "That's What You Call a Dream," "What Was Good Enough For You," "Bonnie," "Dyin' Ain't So Bad"

More Legit

  • Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant,

    Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant, Dies at 73

    Gregg Smith, a dancer, casting director and assistant choreographer who had a long association with director Kenny Ortega, has died. He was 73. Smith died on Jan. 1. The industry veteran worked as a performer in the national touring company of the musical “Hair” and in a Los Angeles production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He [...]

  • Frozen review musical

    Warmth and Humor Pervade Pantages Production of 'Frozen' the Musical

    In 2013, Disney’s “Frozen” hit screens like a 100 mile-per-hour snowball, sparking a pop cultural phenomenon in which little girls and boys pranced about dressed in Anna and Elsa and Olaf costumes while belting aloud “Let It Go,” Elsa’s feminist anthemic response to ice powers rendering her a societal outcast. The animated movie won two [...]

  • My Name Is Lucy Barton review

    'My Name is Lucy Barton': Theater Review

    Laura Linney is in love. Just watch the radiant expression on her face as she wraps her arms around the character of Lucy Barton, a role she played in two separate engagements at the Bridge Theater in London, and is now reprising on Broadway in “My Name is Lucy Barton.” The feeling is obviously mutual, [...]

  • 'Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal' to

    'Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal' to Air Weekly, Syndicate Nationally (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal” will become nationally syndicated, marking a first for a program about the Great White Way. Beginning in fall 2020, the monthly show will increase frequency to air weekly. The show is hosted and executive-produced by 12-time Emmy Award winner Tamsen Fadal, a news anchor at WPIX, the channel that initially [...]

  • Laura Linney My Name Is Lucy

    Listen: What Laura Linney Learns From Bad Shows

    For Laura Linney, every stage experience is a learning experience. “Even the bad ones!” she cheerfully declared on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “Even the ones that are really bad, and I’ve been really bad in some things,” continued the Emmy winner, currently back on Broadway [...]

  • 'Betrayal' Star Zawe Ashton Signs With

    'Betrayal' Star Zawe Ashton Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Zawe Ashton has signed with CAA, Variety has learned. Most recently seen on Broadway in the hit revival of Harold Pinter’s “Betryal,” Ashton is the definition of a multi-hyphenate. In addition to being an in-demand actress, Ashton is a director, playwright and author. While earning critical raves for “Betrayal,” Ashton made her debut as a [...]

  • Michael Feinstein Kristin Chenoweth Sutton Foster

    Jerry Herman Memorial Set for Feb. 3 at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

    A memorial service for Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman will be held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Michael Feinstein is producing the tribute, which will feature performances from a number of notable legit stars, including Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara, Bernadette Peters and Betty Buckley. Angela [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content