Review by Susan Hasho
The show December 3rd – 54 Below Celebrates Frank Wildhorn – was a love fest for the musical Bonnie & Clyde with Frank Wildhorn at the helm and at the piano. Bonnie & Clyde was on Broadway in 2011, audiences loved it, the critics not so much and it closed in four weeks. It still lives on, however, in a London production this year, American productions in 2014 and Germany in 2014 and next year.
At 54 Below, it was given a raucous and loving concert. Previous stars of the show Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan passionately reprised This World Will Remember Me, This Never Happened Before, and What Was Good Enough For You. Many of the original Broadway cast were on hand: Melissa van der Schyff as Blanche Barrow, Claybourne Elder as Buck Barrow, Michael Lanning as the Preacher, Kevin Massey as Ted Hinton, Mimi Bessette as Emma Parker.
The song, When I Drive, with Jeremy Jordan and Kevin Massey especially covers so much of the excitement involved in the life these people chose; and as sung by Jeremy and Kevin the charismatic appeal of this gang is beautifully realized. You Can Do Better Than Him (Louis Hobson and Jeremy Jordan) renders a whole world of two men in love with Bonnie. Raise a Little Hell and Made in America both are songs that touch the truant in all of us—how thrilling it might be to go off the rails—and how thrilling it was for them.
It is hard to create the tragic moments of the end of this saga in a concert, but the love these performers have for the show and the great respect they have for Frank Wildhorn is well represented here. And Wildhorn himself is a great presence behind the evening, occasionally chiming in for encouragement and always musically rocking the piano beaming a great smile.
Also performing: Louis Hobson, Talon Ackerman, Kelsey Fowler, Leslie Becker, Alison Cimmet, Matt Lutz, Marissa McGowan, Dan Cooney, and Victor Hernandez.
Violin: Antoine Silverman; Bass: Julia Adamy; Drums: Clint de Ganon
54 Below – 254 W 54th Street Cellar – New York, NY Tickets & Information 646-476-3551 www.54below.com