What could a Broadway show about Bonnie and Clyde possibly have over the shoot-em-up screen romance in the 1967 film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway? I thought. But the new Bonnie & Clyde at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater is a stunner. You don't have to bite the bullet during the first act hoping that something good will come after intermission as you do at most shows. You'll be shot full of excitement as soon as the curtain goes up.
My prediction is that you're going to see this Clyde -- Jeremy Jordan (Newsies, West Side Story) -- with top billing from now on. Even when he is silent, even when he has his back to the audience, you can feel the emotion projecting from him. Oh, and not to mention his dream-boat eyes, full lips, and physique!
Laura Osnes (Grease and Anything Goes), the little girl who wanted to be Clara Bow but turned into a whole other sort of "It Girl," plays just the right mix of ravishing redhead who is both guilt-ridden and delighted by her wild, criminal-on-the-run, erotic life with Clyde.
The love between Clyde's brother, Buck, played by Clyde Elder who originated the role at La Jolla Playhouse. and his beautician wife Blanche played by Melissa Van Der Schyff, who also developed her role in La Jolla Playhouse, is a terrific counterpoint to Bonnie and Clyde's love. Bonnie thinks the lord can save Buck, but the lord can't compete with the excitement Clyde's life holds out for Buck.
The staging was simple, but brilliant. The spare, wooden set, the bigness of the Midwestern sky, the newspaper clippings, the replica of the Warren car in which Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death, bring us back to the dust bowl of the 30's when robbery victims asked Bonnie and Clyde for their autographs during the commission of a crime when the couple show up to rob a bank that has no money.
It's a timeless tale that asks the question, which is better -- a love that lasts into doddering, rocking chair old age or one that burns so bright that it explodes like a supernova?