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Bonnie & Clyde is a hit at Downriver Actors Guild (review) October 19, 2016

Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
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Reviewed by Patricia Mazzola.

Downriver Actors Guild has a true hit with Bonnie & Clyde A New Musical, performing at the intimate Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue in Wyandotte, MI, now through October 29th, 2016. Director Ron Baumanis, keeps the audience completely engaged with his expert staging, whether during a tender moment or a suspenseful shoot-out.

With book by Ivan Menchell, this thoroughly researched story of unfettered love during the desperate times of the 1930s takes the audience deep into the main characters’ hearts and minds more than the contrived Hollywood film with which we are all so familiar. The story centers on Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker who meet and decide to turn their backs on trying to do the right thing. They become notorious outlaws, seeking fame and fortune, as they rob and steal their way across the southern United States. The contemporary country and gospel score by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Don Black, perfectly expresses all the emotions of fear, love, compassion and glee these characters experience as they stumble through life during the Depression.

Though there were a few technical glitches the evening I went, the ensemble, led by the very talented Kimberly Elliott as Bonnie and Daniel Hazlett as Clyde, grew nicely into their parts as the show progressed. Nick Brown as the Minister showered us with spiritual joy during the Gospel (I’d go to any service he would lead), yet also showed genuine heartfelt love for the downtrodden when appropriate. Love-struck Ted Hinton doesn’t get the girl but Kevin Kaminski plays him so well and sings so beautifully, maybe he should have. Other standout performances were Elaina Primeau (keep an eye out for this little gem) as Young Bonnie, and the trio of salon ladies who also doubled in other parts, played by Amanda Aue, Paige Wisniewski and Ashley Gatesy. You will swoon and laugh and maybe even cry a bit. There is also a special feature in the second act that will surprise you.

This was the first time I had seen anything by the Downriver Actors Guild. I went with no idea of what to expect and I left wanting more. I will be back! You won’t have to hold a gun to my back.

Bonnie & Clyde continues at DAG through October 29th. DownriverActorsGuild.net for tickets.

Superb “Bonnie & Clyde the musical” at Peppermint Creek September 22, 2013

Posted by ronannarbor in Broadway Musicals, Community Theater, Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
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Those who follow my reviews know how much I love Frank Wildhorn’s musical “Bonnie & Clyde”. I loved it on Broadway, and I love it in its current incarnation at Peppermint Creek Theatre Company in Lansing.



The story, told in flashback beginning with the deaths of Bonnie & Clyde, shows the couple’s meeting, relationship, Clyde’s multiple arrests, and crime spree in late 20’s early 30’s deep south and Texas that eventually draws in his brother and his wife as well. Using a country pop rock score, and with plenty of laughs along the way, Wildhorn, Don Black, and Ivan Menchell assure that the show focuses on the lead players throughout and while not necessarily generating sympathy for them at least allows you to empathize deeply with that desire to escape your desolate surroundings and live the rich-man’s dream.

Adam Woolsey (as Clyde) and Brittany Nichol (Bonnie) are pitch perfect in their demanding vocal and acting roles, and Matt Bill and Mary Maurer lend superb support as Clyde’s brother Buck and his sister-in-law Blanche. A fine performance is also turned in by Scott Laban (Ted), love-stricken deputy watching Bonnie slip away from his protection and toward the criminal Clyde. Their vocal finesse makes WIldhorn’s best musical theater score soar.

Katie Doyle’s direction moves the show along at a fast clip and she makes excellent use of the clever and versatile set space, designed by Jeff Boerger. The excellent ensemble play multiple roles, while Brent Decker’s 7-piece orchestra never misses a beat. His vocal direction is crisp and polished. The sound design by Brian Ugorowski is very good.

While not a family-friendly show, parents will be glad to hear that the production is less nudity and gunplay oriented than the original Broadway production, but in the final sequence when the four leads are surrounded by the local deputies and authorities the menace is lessened and the “big shootout” never occurs — an instance where offstage action doesn’t fill in enough to substitute for the shortened action sequence on stage. The production is also lacking an important bathtub set piece.

None the less, those are minor quibbles and this is a terrific production that you should see if you can. I kid you not when I say that this production is very very good.

When I saw the original Broadway production, I knew that the show had posted a closing notice for the following Sunday. At intermission, the stunned audience reaction revolved around one general consensus: how could this terrific new Broadway musical be closing so quickly? Come see for yourself what makes this new musical stand out from the crowd. You will be glad you spent a few hours with Bonnie & Clyde & Buck & Blanche.  And you will probably find yourself heading to iTunes to buy the original cast album. It belongs in every collection.

Bonnie & Clyde continues through next weekend and tickets are available at peppermintcreek.org