Review: Bonnie & Clyde

Crime doesn't quite pay off in a new musical about love on the run.

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  • Photograph: Nathan Johnson

    Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

  • Photograph: Nathan Johnson

    Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

  • Photograph: Nathan Johnson

    Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

  • Photograph: Nathan Johnson

    Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

  • Photograph: Nathan Johnson

    Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

  • Photograph: Nathan Johnson

    Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

Photograph: Nathan Johnson

Bonnie & Clyde

Bonnie & Clyde at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Something in Frank Wildhorn is drawn to badness. Two of Wildhorn's previous Broadway musicals, Jekyll & Hyde and Dracula, made gooey antiheroes of European monsters, yielding musicals that were horrors in every way; now he turns his attention to the homegrown crime team of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who cut a bloody swath through several states in the 1930s. The result, somewhat surprisingly, is the composer's best score to date. Schadenfreudians expecting a new Wildhorn wipeout, like last season's Wonderland, will be miffed at how much of Bonnie & Clyde actually works; regular audiences may be let down by what does not.

Two major points in Bonnie & Clyde's favor are its young stars, Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan, who not only possess the requisite sex appeal for their roles (in this account, their crime spree seems motivated primarily by pheromones), but also have charisma and vocal strength to spare. And Melissa Van Der Schyff, as goody-two-shoes outlaw in-law Blanche Barrow—she is married to Clyde's brother, Buck (Elder)—is a wow throughout, with a voice like a country stream. But as the plot thickens into violence, the writing lacks the heft to support it; when it takes aim at larger targets, like the Depression penury that made Parker and Barrow into folk heroes, it wobbles. Skillfully directed by Jeff Calhoun, Bonnie & Clyde doesn't glamorize its subjects, as Arthur Penn's 1967 film was accused of doing, but it does sentimentalize them; they are introduced to us as children, dreaming of fame, and never grow far beyond that. No matter how many innocent people they kill, this musical's Bonnie and Clyde remain—like the show itself—not great, but not that bad.

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Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Book by Ivan Menchell. Lyrics by Don Black. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Dir. Jeff Calhoun. With Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Claybourne Elder, Melissa Van Der Schyff. 2hrs 25mins. One intermission. See complete event information

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