Even if everyone has heard of Bonnie and Clyde before seeing the new Broadway production, you likely wouldn't have considered them as part of a great American love story. That's the ambitious take of Bonnie & Clyde, tracking the duo's relationship from its very start, long before they turned into some of the most notorious robbers of the past century. Set inside the Depression, the pair try to make do with what they have, and for some of the most transcendent moments of the show, all that is, is love. You'll find yourself strangely sympathetic for the criminals, and you won't regret it.
Although Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan share the spotlight as the leading duo, Osnes really sets herself apart as Bonnie Parker. In both acts she has crowd-pleasing and show-stopping tunes that will leave you speechless. You witness her character's depth through her struggle between loving what one might describe as "the wrong man," yet you will root for her to continue along that journey toward a better life. It might be short-lived, but it's thrilling every step of the way.
The show's real triumph though is in its set design and staging. During some moments, four or five different conversations or songs will take place at one on different parts of the stage, and it's never jarring or confusing for the audience. On the contrary, all the frenzy speaks to the way that Bonnie and Clyde approached their lives -- fast, but careful.
Director Jeff Calhoun not only uses a small space to tell multiple stories at once, but he also subtly implants defining imagery in the presentation of this tale. Themes of isolation, salvation, rebirth, forgiveness, freedom, and duality, among others, surface through directorial decisions that help frame and shape the narrative as it goes. Thanks to Calhoun's creativity, the lead characters need not spend time outlining context or selling the audience on what drives the main characters during the tough era during which they lived.
During the Depression, Bonnie and Clyde ascended to folk hero status. After seeing them together, you'll understand why.