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Tony Interview Special: Frank Wildhorn on the Origins of BONNIE & CLYDE, Prepping JEKYLL & HYDE, and More!

Tony-Interview-Special-20010101

Earlier this month, the 2012 Tony Awards Nominations were announced by Tony winning actress Kristin Chenoweth and Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Parsons. The Tony Awards will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from the Beacon Theatre, on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 10, 2012.

BroadwayWorld was there for this year's official Tony Brunch, and got a chance to chat with this year's nominees!  Today we bring you Frank Wildhorn, nominee for Best Score for BONNIE & CLYDE.


Congrats on the nomination! What’s been going through your head since you got the news?

When you do this long enough you know that there are ups and downs. You can’t get too high and you can’t get too low. I’m always working on so many things, so my mind and heart are always on what’s new. But when things like this happen, they are wonderful surprises. I get to call my mom and give her good news instead of not so good news.

With the show no longer being open, does this make the experience more validating?

It’s bittersweet because we put so much into it. Jeremy [Jordan] and Laura [Osnes] were just fantastic, and God bless them that they both got nominated. I’m sure if Jeremy didn’t get nominated for NEWSIES, he would have been nominated as ‘Clyde.’

I think the show, certainly in the last couple of weeks with Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desks and the Tonys, has been validated in some small way maybe. But more important than that, the show was in California, then went to Florida, and then Broadway. I never ever could ask any more from an audience than what this show gave. That’s what makes it bittersweet. Because as a creative person you look at it and say ‘What’s wrong with this? What I’m I supposed to do?’

How exactly did the project come about for you?

It started at Atlantic Records. I was looking for new projects for Linda [Eder] as I always was, and we were doing song cycles based on famous couples called ‘The Romantics.’ Out of those cycles, Stephen Schwartz and I did Anna Karenina, David Zippel and I did Antony and Cleopatra, Maury Yeston and I did Adam and Eve, and Don Black and I did Bonnie and Clyde.

As we discovered the songs and learned about their lives, Don said, ‘There’s way too much here for just a few songs.’ That’s really what started it. Then Jeff [Calhoun] came on board and brought along Ivan Menchell, and the collaboration just went from there!

Is there a song in the show that is particularly special to you?

It’s hard to pick! That’s a tough question, but one of my favorites is a song that was cut from the show. It’s the bonus track on the album- ‘This Never Happened Before.’ But it was so much fun writing for Laura [Osnes] and Melissa [van der Schyff] and Jeremy [Jordan], and to see those songs brought to life was hot!

What’s up next for you?

Jekyll & Hyde! It starts touring in the fall and will be here next April. It’s not a revival, it’s a re-imagining. Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, and a lot of surprises! There will be new music and new songs in the show that were never on Broadway. I think that the fans and hopefully the new fans will be very excited about it!

The Tony Awards will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from the Beacon Theatre, on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 10, 2012.  Click here for the complete list of nominations! Click here for the nominations by the numbers. 

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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