Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Bonnie and Clyde

Musical Theatre Southwest
Review by Rob Spiegel

Also see Wally's review of El Corrido de Jorge

Jessica Quindlen and Tyler Gable
Photo by Jason Ponic Photography
With music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black, and a book by Ivan Menchell, Bonnie and Clyde follows the misadventures of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the girlfriend/boyfriend team of gangsters who robbed banks and stores across Texas and the Midwest during the Public Enemy Era of the early 1930s. They each started out in small towns south of Dallas.

In this depiction, currently at Musical Theatre Southwest and directed by Brandon Price McDaniel, Clyde first met Bonnie while she was working as a waitress with big dreams of stardom. Clyde also had big dreams, but his were for notoriety. In their own twisted way, they did reach fame—thought not quite fortune—through their criminal endeavors.

The story of Bonnie and Clyde is not quite glamorized in the musical. The bounties from their thievery never bought them relief from the constant pressure of the law, and their life is shown as a hardscrabble run that included bullet wounds that couldn't be treated in hospitals, and a life that was mostly lived in a car. They did become famous, though, and Bonnie's poetry of crime was published in newspapers since it was part of their hot-off-the-press story.

There's no surprise about what eventually happens with Bonnie and Clyde. The final scene from the 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway is seared in the memory of every viewer. Indeed, this musical opens with a view of the duo out-cold in their car, a bright red bullet hole in the center of Bonnie's pretty forehead.

The musical debuted in La Jolla, California, in 2009, then played in Sarasota, Florida, before opening on Broadway in 2011. Ticket sales were slow and critics didn't rave, but the production did get nominated for a handful of awards, including two Tony Award nominations. It closed after only 36 regular performances. There has been an afterlife for the musical in regional theatre.

While there are no real standout songs, the music works well in telling the story. We begin with Bonnie and Clyde as kids with dreamy hope. Brooke Caperton as the young Bonnie, and Allen Dominguez as the lad Clyde are both terrific. These young actors deliver surprising charisma in confidently bold voice.

The kids are a nice kickoff to an overall strong production under the direction of Branden Price McDaniel. The set by Joel McKenzie works fine, though it's a little clunky at times. The real beauty of this production is in the casting and the performance of the music by Mike Boring leading a six-piece orchestra with his excellent piano playing.

While the ensemble of actors is very good, Jessica Quindlen as Bonnie and Tyler Gable as Clyde carry the production. Both are excellent. Quindlen, originally from the East Coast, is one of Albuquerque's treasures. She stands out—without stealing from anyone—in every role I've see her in, from Sandy in Grease to Judy in White Christmas. Her voice is superb, whether she's delivering a tender vibrato or belting onto center stage. Her face is always in character, even while the focus is on other actors.

Gable came down from Colorado for this production, so he's new to MTS and Albuquerque audiences. Hopefully, he'll stay. His performance as Clyde is terrific, and I can think of a number of other roles he'd be good in. There were not a ton of sparks between Quindlen and Gable, but perhaps their chemistry will develop over the production's four-week run.

Bonnie and Clyde, through February 25, 2018, at the Musical Theatre Southwest Black Box at 6320 Domingo Rd. NE, Albuquerque NM. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm. General admission is $22. For seniors, students and ATG members, admission is $20. For reservations, call 505-265-9119 or purchase online at