by Jessica Runnels
Everyone knows the story of Bonnie & Clyde and how they died. But add music and the story becomes even more compelling and meaningful. Frank Wildhorn, who wrote the music of another great musical called Jekyll & Hyde, also wrote Bonnie & Clyde, so of course the music is wonderful.
Bonnie & Clyde has been my favorite musical for several months now so I was very excited to hear that a theatre company in the Valley was finally performing it. The Visalia Players at the Ice House Theatre are the first theatre company in the area to perform Bonnie & Clyde. It is a great piece of theatre and I am so happy this area will finally be exposed to it.
There have been many movies about Bonnie & Clyde’s life but according to show director Corey Ralston, the musical is a very historically sensitive version. The movies paint them as sensationalized criminals, but the musical shows you who they really were. The musical makes you feel sorry for them and the circumstances that led them to the criminal life. The end will make you cry for sure.
Clyde Barrow requires an actor with a booming, incredible voice and Jonathan Wheeler definitely is that. I was blown away by his voice the second he started singing. Especially in my two favorite songs called “Raise A Little Hell” and “This World Will Remember Us”. Clyde is a complicated man and Jonathan portrays that brilliantly. Becca Coffey is an adorable Bonnie with an amazing voice. Bonnie is innocent, but also willing to do anything to be with the love of her life Clyde, and to be a star in Hollywood, so she is a complicated woman and Becca plays that perfectly. I was amazed by both of them. They have great chemistry as well, which is extremely important in this show.
Buck and Blanche Barrow were played by Louis Lyons and Krystle McWells. Krystle has a beautiful voice, and Louis’ acting was great, especially in the final emotional scenes. Buck is Clyde’s brother and is torn between living a comfortable life with Blanche or living a life of crime with Clyde. Marcus Cardenas was adorable and sweet as Ted Hinton; a man of the law in love with Bonnie. And John Miller blew me away in his songs as the Preacher. Everyone was wonderful. I was very impressed.
Kudos to Corey Ralston for directing a challenging musical and presenting it with sincere emotion. Another shout out to Krystle McWells and Corey Ralston for the beautiful costumes, especially the dress that Bonnie wears in her final days (which is an exact replica of the dress the real Bonnie actually wears).
Don’t miss the chance to see this compelling musical with a beautiful score playing August 8-24 at the Ice House Theatre in Visalia, California. Check out this preview article on the show and you will find a ticket discount just for KRL readers: kingsriverlife.com/08/05/bonnie-clyde-a-new-musical-on-stage-in-visalia and check out some fun video interviews with Corey, Jonathan and Becca on KRL’s YouTube channel.
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.