Follow TV Tropes


Theatre / Bonnie and Clyde

Go To

Bonnie and Clyde is a stage musical with music by Frank Wildhorn. It presents a deliberately fictionalized account of the two criminals' rise to fame, showing it beginning as a romance between a good girl and a bad boy.

It was not historically accurate, but was not meant to be. It premiered in December 2011 and ran for less than one hundred performances, joining several of his works which were known to be flops.

However, it did end up leading Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes to stardom, and has since, at least among theatre geeks, become an Acclaimed Flop.

Not to be confused with the film of the same name.

Bonnie and Clyde includes examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: The real Blanche Barrow was left blind in one eye in the same shooting incident that killed her husband Buck. The musical makes no mention of her sustaining such an injury.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Many scenes are mixed real life events or shortened forms. Clyde's two incarcerations at Eastman prison are combined into one. Bonnie's leg is injured in the Joplin shootout rather than in an unrelated car wreck, and the week on the run before Buck succumbed to his injuries was removed.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The governor of Texas during the Barrow gang's activity really was a woman, Miriam (Ma) Furguson.
  • Book Ends: The beginning of the musical shows Bonnie and Clyde (with Bonnie holding Clyde's arm) both dead in their car from the cops hosing them with bullets in an ambush on a Louisianan road, along with a projection of a news headline reporting of their deaths, all while an instrumental version of "How 'Bout a Dance?" plays. The end of the musical has them in the same positions in the car, driving along that road to their doom while more headlines about their deaths, along with pictures and reels of the aftermath are projected to the music of "How 'Bout a Dance?" which Bonnie sings very briefly.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • "God's Arms Are Always Open" is originally sung at a church, where Clyde's brother Buck turns himself in to the police after his escape. The reprise is a duet between him and his wife, Blanche, as he dies in her arms, with her assuring him that he can still make it to heaven.
    • "You Can Do Better Than Him" is originally sung by Ted and Clyde who both have feelings for Bonnie and sing about how they will make her happy with either of them. A shorter reprise about it at the end has Ted somberly singing it alone, convincing himself he's doing the right thing, but at the cost of Bonnie, owing to Frank Hamer's plan to put an end to her and Clyde.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Averted; while the prison guards seem to think that Clyde being raped at the hands of his cellmate is amusing or deserved, it's still portrayed as causing Clyde great pain, and is decidedly not played for laughs.
  • Death Song: The reprise of "God's Arms Are Always Open" is one for Buck.
  • Historical Domain Character: Bonnie Parker, and Clyde, Buck, and Blanche Barrow were real people. As was Ted Hinton (one of the cops involved in the police ambush), whose brief familiarity with Bonnie in reality adapted into him becoming a Dogged Nice Guy.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Buck swears up and down that he can't go back to prison because of how terrible it was. His wife persuades him to turn himself in anyway to set things right with the law, though. Clyde also shares Buck's sentiment, which is rather understandable owing to his run-ins with the law, and the abuse he suffered in Eastham Prison once the cops catch him again.
    Clyde: [discussing Buck's idea to turn himself in with Bonnie] My brother can do what he wants. Clyde Barrow ain't never gonna set inside a prison again.
  • "I Want" Song: "Picture Show", the opening number, showcases young Bonnie's desire to be an actress and Clyde's desire to become an outlaw in the same vein as Billy the Kid.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "This World Will Remember Me" has Clyde expressing his desire to get out of their poor town in Texas and become rich and famous (by robbery) to Bonnie, playing on her similar dream of stardom. Its reprise, "This World Will Remember Us", has Clyde breaking out of prison and he and Bonnie setting off, on the way to fulfill their dreams.