by Lorie Lewis Ham
This August another Valley premiere will be hitting the stages! The Bonnie and Clyde musical will be on stage at the Visalia Ice House presented by the Visalia Players. They are currently in rehearsals and we thought it would be fun to take some time to chat with the show’s director, Corey Ralston, and give our readers a heads up on this great show headed our way. Watch for some behind the scenes video interviews coming your way next month!
KRL: I understand this is the Valley Premiere of this show, is that correct?
Corey: Yes. This is a relatively new show. There has been a production up north and in Santa Barbara. I am happy to bring something exciting and new to the Valley.
KRL: Why did Visalia Players decide to do this show?
Corey: The Visalia Players were looking for a good name recognition show to open their 2014-2015 season. I had brought a couple titles and this is the one that made the most sense. Which was great news to me, because I had fallen in love with this show very quickly. They also felt that the name Bonnie and Clyde would bring a diverse audience, especially men.
KRL: Why did you want to do this show?
Corey: I fell in love with the music fast. Frank Wildhorn is a great talent and soon to be legend. His score is fun and gorgeous all at the same time. I sort of feel that this show found me rather than me finding it. I stumbled across it at the right time and there was no going back. I also think the story of Bonnie and Clyde is fascinating. A great love story. Even though they were criminals, they were folk heroes at the same time. During the depression the poor looked up to criminals who were robbing banks.
KRL: Can you tell us a little about the show’s storyline?
Corey: The show begins at the end of Bonnie and Clyde’s life, which we all know ended in gunfire with an ambush in Louisiana. It then rewinds to when the pair were children and follows their story of love and adventure. Last month was the 80th anniversary of their death. It doesn’t seem like that long ago to many. But their story has had a major resurgence with this musical and other films being made about them.
KRL: How big is the cast?
Corey: I have 24 people in the cast. And many of the 24 cast members play multiple characters.
KRL: Are there any special challenges to directing this show?
Corey: The show takes place in so many various locations that it is a challenge to sell that. But we are using projection and minimal set pieces. The show has seamless transitions, so the scene changes need to happen while the actors are moving from one location to the next. It will be difficult but a breath of fresh air. I am a stickler for short scene changes and I have got my wish now.
KRL: Who is in the cast?
Corey: We have a very exciting cast. Bonnie is played by Becca Coffey, a Fresno State graduate who was recently in my last show Little Shop of Horrors. She has a fantastic soprano belt which this show needs. She is beautiful and spunky and is going to steal the hearts of our male audience members. We also have Jonathan Wheeler playing Clyde. Jonathan has been deserving of a starring role of this caliber and I am very happy to have him. He has a beautiful voice with just enough edge to make the songs exciting. Everyone in the cast is doing their homework to make these characters come to life, by reading biographies and watching films.
KRL: What are the show dates?
Corey: August 8-24
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Corey: I am bursting with excitement to share this show to local audiences. It is going to be epic.
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.