By Paige Ewing
Audiences were tapping their feet, falling in love and jumping at gunshots as the Barrow gang rolled into Yvonne Theater in the production of Bonnie & Clyde.
The musical is based on the true story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the duo infamous for theft during the Great Depression. Director Robin Lewis and music director Nathan Hurwitz, along with a cast of musical theater majors, did a beautiful job representing the characters.
The production opened with a bang, literally. Bonnie and Clyde are caught in a police ambush, and the show starts out with their deaths, leaving audiences to wonder how these two people got to that point.
The younger versions of Bonnie, played by senior musical theater major Mary Sudol, and Clyde, Lawrenceville High School student Julian Garcia, emerged on stage.
The duet between both characters depicted two people on opposite ends of the country, and their voices blended to form the opening number “Picture Show,” during which the audience is introduced to the adult Bonnie and Clyde.
Clyde, a true bad boy, was played by senior musical theater major Daniel Maldonado, and his partner-in-crime Bonnie, a waitress aspiring to make it in Hollywood, was ravishly played by junior musical theater major Eleni Kontos. Both characters have big dreams in a small town, but with God as the town’s only savior, these big dreamers have a hard time fitting in.
When Bonnie meets Clyde by chance, she is drawn to his fierceness but soon realizes he is more corrupt than he seems. Clyde and his brother Buck, played by senior musical theater major Jack Gerhard, have busted out of jail and are on the run from the police. While Clyde is still following his dreams of being the next Al Capone, Buck goes back to his wife Blanche, played by senior musical theater major Sophia Introna.
In a town defined by religion, Blanche is the truest believer and convinces Buck to turn himself in so God will save him. Together, Gerhard and Introna wonderfully portray husband and wife, with love and trust overcoming all.
As Bonnie and Clyde begin their scandalous romance, there is another admirer of Bonnie Parker: the handsome police officer Ted, played by senior musical theater major Nick Ziobro.
Throughout the production, Ted sees the good in Bonnie and fights for her innocence, even after she runs away with Clyde as he begins to rob stores.
Finally, Clyde gets too brazen in his thefts. He is arrested and imprisoned for 16 years, while his brother Buck is released for good behavior. While in prison, Clyde is beaten and tormented. Slowly, the audience sees the shift from a boy who wanted to be a famous mobster to a deadly man seeking blood.
After he is released, Bonnie and Clyde begin to commit the crimes together. Clyde eventually kills a police officer, inciting a statewide manhunt for the pair.
Bonnie signs autographs at the stick-ups while Clyde raids stores; they are both fulfilling their childhood dreams in a twisted way. However, as the Great Depression rolls in, committing the robberies becomes more difficult.
Clyde gets shot and Buck decides to join him. After Blanche is convinced to come along, the Barrow Gang is formed.
The gang quickly causes trouble, robbing every store and escalating to breaking into the West Texas Armoury to steal weapons.
The Texas governor, played by junior musical theater major Samantha Flahive, becomes involved and forms a commission to stop Bonnie and Clyde. The group of men will stop at nothing to put the Barrow gang down. However, Ted is also on the commission and tries to stop them to save Bonnie, a woman he still believes is truly good.
Soon, the police find where the gang is hiding and a shootout results in the death of police officers, but most tragically, Buck Barrow. Introna gives a heart-wrenching performance as she mourns her husband, and is is then torn from his body and arrested.
Bonnie and Clyde, never forgetting their parents, make the decision to visit Bonnie’s mother, played by junior musical theater major Roberta Curless, for her birthday. However, the police have already figured out their route.
As Bonnie lays her head on Clyde’s shoulder and sings the last words of “Dying Ain’t So Bad,” the stage goes black and the audience sat in silence as the realization that the characters never got to the birthday party sinks in.
Bonnie and Clyde proved to be an exciting production, even for those not familiar with theater.
Although sophomore environmental science major Alina Bardaji hasn’t been to many Rider productions in the past, she said she is “so glad” she saw this one. “It was truly incredible and everyone involved is so talented,” she said.
With the combination of gorgeous sets, thrilling music and the talented cast, audience members were left with a memorable performance.
“The entire second act was full of energy,” sophomore theater major Jason Mount said. “Knowing that the couple was heading to their dooms left an ominous feeling in my stomach. The way that [Kontos] sang the final notes were so haunting, I’m still thinking about it four days later.”
Printed in the 10/18/17 edition.