BYU students and alumni star in Broadway’s electrifying story of love, adventure and crime after the Utah Repertory Theater Company announced Utah’s premiere of “Bonnie & Clyde,” Broadway’s most-wanted musical.
The story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow takes place during the Great Depression. Two small-town nobodies in West Texas become America’s most renowned folk heroes and law enforcement’s worst nightmares.
Johnny Hebda, BYU graduate and founder of Utah Repertory Theater, plays the role of Clyde Barrow.
“Playing the role of a historical character is a lot of fun,” Hebda said. “Clyde is an outlaw, but he is written as the hero and not as the vicious outlaw you normally see. He is shown as a product of circumstance, and I work hard to play him as he truly was, just trying to survive.”
Other cast members include married couple Johnny and Twila Wilson, starring in the roles of Buck and Blanche Barrow.
“This show is for people that are human; it truly applies to everyone,” Twila Wilson said. “It is really passionate and speaks to people who have had to deal with difficult circumstances. With the direct display of personal agency it shows which choices you can make and the ones you maybe shouldn’t make.”
Examiner.com called the musical “a must-see, as it is superb and should be a bona fide hit” with “crowd-pleasing and show-stopping tunes that will leave the audience speechless.” On Broadway, “Bonnie & Clyde” earned two Tony Award nominations in 2012, including best score. Written by Frank Wildhorn, the score uniquely combines blues, gospel and rockabilly music. Frank Wildhorn has been popular among Utah in the scores of the “Scarlet Pimpernel” and “Jeckyll & Hyde.”
This is the first time “Bonnie & Clyde” has been performed in Utah, and it is also one of the first post-Broadway productions of the show. Director Adam Cannon has done a fine job in setting the scene at Lehi Arts Center with a live band, conducted and accompanied by music director Anjanette Mickelsen.
“One of the main reasons I chose this show was because I loved the music,” Cannon said. “It’s upbeat and different than most Broadway shows. It is definitely not a ‘stand and sing,’ and I think that’s a big reason it appeals to such a wide variety of audience.”
Hebda also said the score was fun yet challengimg to learn.
“Doing theatre all my life, it was hard to learn this combination of rock and country music,” Hebda said. “And to perform it correctly with the style it calls for is a challenge, but I’m up for it.”
“Bonnie and Clyde” will run through Feb. 1. For more information and ticket prices, visit http://utahrep.org